Divorce and Estate Planning

Divorce and Estate Planning Lawyer Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale and Phoenix Lawyer for Help with Estate Planning After Divorce

The divorce process sometimes lasts far longer than either of the parties anticipated. In some cases, the parties feel the repercussions many years after the final decree in unexpected ways. One of the reasons for this is that one person did not change his or her estate plan to reflect the new circumstances. When that occurs, one of the parties may experience an unexpected windfall. Conversely, they (or their heirs) may be left high and dry after being told that they were to benefit under a will or trust, or that they were the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, 401K, or other financial instrument.

To ensure that all components of your estate will be distributed after your death as you wish, it is important to review everything your portfolio and estate plan with an experienced Arizona family law attorney. At our Phoenix law firm, the Law Office of Karen Schoenau, we have the experience and knowledge to review your estate plan and your assets to ensure that everything reflects your situation and wishes post-divorce. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation for a divorce and estate plan.

Arizona Attorney Helping with Post-Divorce Estate Planning

It is easy to overlook some of the details during the chaos of divorce. That is why having the help of a trusted family lawyer can ensure that you are aware of and consider everything when revising your estate plan in the light of divorce. Arizona law has some automatic provisions that affect estate planning. In some instances, an ex-spouse is automatically removed as a beneficiary and the contingent beneficiaries receive the asset instead. While this may be what you want, it does not happen in every instance. Moreover, you may not want to remove your ex-spouse from your will or as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Going through your estate plan and your assets and making needed beneficiary changes is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. Our Phoenix and Scottsdale divorce and estate planning lawyer can help.

Here are some of the assets and financial instruments that you should review during or after divorce to ensure that your beneficiaries are correct:

  • Wills and trusts: Once a divorce is final, an ex-spouse is automatically removed as a beneficiary of a will. If this is not what you want, you will need to draft a new will that includes your ex-spouse. Living trusts are handled similarly.
  • IRAs: These retirement accounts can get complicated after divorce. Although the law disqualifies ex-spouses from inheriting under an IRA, an IRA custodian may not know about a divorce and treat the former spouse as a beneficiary if the IRA owner does not change the beneficiaries upon divorce. Moreover, former spouses have successfully contested the application of Arizona law in cases where the IRA owner did not change beneficiaries and lived for many years after the divorce. These former spouses have successfully argued that because of the length of time between the divorce and death if the IRA owner had wanted to change beneficiaries, he or she would have done so.
  • Pensions, 401(k)s, profit sharing plans: These are distributed according to the beneficiaries on file. This means that unless you remove your ex-spouse from your list of beneficiaries, she or he will inherit these retirement assets.
  • Life insurance policies: Ex-spouses are automatically ineligible to receive proceeds of life insurance policies in Arizona. This means if you want your ex to receive the benefit, you will need to submit a new beneficiary designation.

Our Arizona divorce and estate planning attorney will review these and all your assets and property during or after your divorce to ensure that they are distributed according to your wishes upon your death.

Contact Our Scottsdale and Phoenix Divorce and Estate Planning Attorney

If you are getting divorced in Arizona and need to change your estate plan, you should seek an experienced Arizona attorney who can help you adjust your estate. An experienced family law lawyer will be able to rewrite your will and help you come up with a new estate plan that does not include your ex-spouse. Do not waste time, if you want someone other than your ex-spouse to collect from your estate, you need someone who can plan your estate. Contact the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau today if you are going through a divorce and want to change your estate plan as a result. Phoenix family attorney Karen Schoenau can help you with issues related to divorce and estate planning in Arizona. Karen Schoenau has represented parents in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, and Gila County.