What do divorce and estate planning having common? Failure to plan appropriately and follow through can result in a big mess. I have recently met with a client whose judgment of divorce has been in effect for many months, however she still had not received sign quit claim deeds from her ex-husband. The big issue is what happens if her husband dies before he signs the quit claim deeds? Would the judgment of divorce on its face be enough to claim full ownership with the Register of Deeds, or would she have to follow up with the executor of his estate to have his one-half ownership interest transferred to her through probate? How much more in legal fees will she incur to get this all cleaned up? When people go through a divorce there are many agreed-upon terms and division of assets, but it still takes many steps to make those provisions effective. The more complicated the assets acquired in the marriage (resulting in multiple quitclaim deeds, transfer of stock, removal of the name from a bank account, etc.) the more followup is needed. Failure to address this in a timely manner could create problems down the road. On top of all these updates, now is a good time to revisit any estate planning documents you may have set up prior to the divorce. Is your ex-spouse still your medical decision-maker? Do you have the right people named to act on your behalf in the event of your death or incapacity? Reviewing your assets along with your estate plan during a divorce or after divorce is an extremely important task.
Goudy Bookletter 1911