Estate Planning For Divorces in Kentucky
For couples who are divorced or divorcing, when it comes to estate planning it does happen that while divorced legally, a couple may actually still be married financially. Ex-spouses absorbed in the details and emotional upheaval of the divorce process might neglect to change beneficiaries in their will, insurance, or other documents. Goldberg Simpson attorneys have created an estate planning checklist for the newly divorced to protect ex- or (or soon-to-be-ex) spouses from giving legal control of an estate to the wrong person.
During a divorce, even if you are separated from your spouse, Kentucky law still considers you to be legally married. This is true until a final dissolution decree is signed by a judge ending the marriage. This means that in the event you were to die or become disabled prior to the legal termination of your marriage, your estranged spouse may be entitled to at least half of your estate.
Even for those who are already divorced, understanding how property title impacts your assets at your death will assist you in making decisions. This is a bit complicated, but it is important because it could make a big difference if something unexpected happens to you.
For example, if you own property in your own name without survivorship, without a “pay on death” designation, or without a beneficiary designation, then your property will likely pass by your last will and testament at your death. Kentucky law treats your former spouse as if he or she died before you. For most divorced people, this is a good thing. If you die without a will, the state in which you live has written one on your behalf so that if you are divorced, your former spouse will not receive assets.
Please note that not all of your assets may be subject to your last will and testament. It depends upon title to your asset. If you have assets that are survivorship, “pay on death,” or beneficiary designation (an IRA, an insurance policy, or an annuity), in most cases those are not subject to your last will and testament. Because these types of assets are not related to probate and your last will and testament, the law revoking the spouse does not apply. In short, if you forget to take your former spouse off of a beneficiary form, and he or she outlives you, he or she will be entitled to that property if you died. This is probably not what you want.
When you have questions, Goldberg Simpson has answers. Please see the FAQs below.
- Post-Divorce FAQ under Kentucky Family Law
- Families In Transition FAQ