Many Texans plan for the future, including planning their estates with their spouse. Married couples may find it easier to plan together, or may enjoy picturing their life together years, maybe even decades, down the road. But, unfortunately, not every marriage survives until the end of time. Texans may find themselves in the particularly difficult situation of getting a divorce. For many, besides the emotional toll the divorce can take, there are many questions about long-term financial future and estates. What happens to the life and plans that the couple once built together? How can Texans proceed? Read on to learn about why estate planning is a critical component of the divorce process.
Estate Planning Considerations During Divorce
These questions can become increasingly complicated. When two spouses both own property or a house together, who gets to keep it? What becomes the legal status upon divorce? How can the property be divided up legally and fairly? As one can imagine, the titling of the family residence(s) can become a major legal conundrum for divorcing couples, especially those who try to handle their own divorce. But that’s not the only confusing title—other assets, such as bank accounts, also need to be reviewed and sorted out to ensure the split is clean and fair.
There is, of course, also the question of wills. Most married couples name each other as beneficiaries under their wills. Perhaps some couples still want this, but many want to change their will in the case of a divorce to pass on assets to their children or other family members instead of or in addition to their former spouse. The same is true for life insurance, pensions and retirement funds—some couples forget they have their former spouse listed there, and thus do not think to change it.
Additionally, upon divorce, an individual may want to change who has the power of attorney to handle their financial affairs, or who has the power to make life or death health care decisions in the case of incapacitation. Forgetting to do so can lead to some sticky situations down the line.
Lastly, in divorce situations, the question of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements will likely come up, if the couple had any. These agreements are often signed years ahead of time, and the individuals may forget what they mean and how to abide by them. For this reason—and all of the reasons listed above—Texans going through a divorce should consult an estate planning attorney. The questions we listed above are a few examples of the issues that commonly come up for estates when a couple divorces and each one is complicated and should be handled with care. Rather than risking the future by trying to figure all of this out themselves, Texans should protect their financial future by working instead with a Texas estate planning attorney, who can guide them through these tough legal areas.
Do You Need a Houston Estate Planning Attorney?
If you’re going through a divorce and have questions about what it means for your estate, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, today. We have decades of experience helping Texas clients navigate even the trickiest of situations. Call today to learn more about how we can help you at 713-333-8900.