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How a Gray Divorce Can Affect Estate Planning

The divorce rate has been falling in the United States for several decades. That being said, gray divorces—a divorce of older people (50+) after a long-term marriage—are on the rise. The Bowling Green State University (BGSU) reports that the rate of gray divorces have doubled since 1990.

While divorce is always complicated, gray divorce involves some unique consideration. Many things, including estate planning, must be considered. In this blog post, our Orland Park divorce lawyer highlights three key things to know about how a gray divorce can affect estate planning in Illinois. 

Your Will Remains in Place—But Provisions Involving Ex-Spouse are Revoked

A will is a foundational estate planning document. If you get divorced in Illinois, your will technically remains valid. However, any provisions involving your former spouse are automatically revoked. In other words, a final divorce decree in Illinois effectively takes your spouse out of your will unless you take action to specifically state otherwise. 

Other Spouse-Related Provisions are Automatically Revoked as Well

Your will is not the only estate planning document that is automatically changed by a divorce in Illinois. Indeed, many other estate planning documents pertaining to your former spouse are automatically revoked upon a divorce. Among other things, these documents include: 

  • Power of attorney (POA); 
  • Most types of trusts; and
  • Beneficiary designations.

Simply put, a finalized divorce in Illinois will take your spouse out of all of these estate planning documents. Imagine that you granted power of attorney to your spouse several years ago. If you get divorced in Illinois, that power of attorney document is automatically invalidated unless you take action stating otherwise.

You Should Review and Revise Your Estate Plan After a Gray Divorce

Estate planning is vitally important, especially for people who are 50 years of age or older. Your estate plan should always be comprehensively reviewed and revised after a gray divorce. While Illinois law automatically invalidates many provisions relating to an ex spouse, your estate plan will still likely be out of date. Once your ex spouse has been invalidated from your estate planning documents, you will generally need to determine a suitable replacement. 

Get Help From Our Illinois Divorce Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd, our Illinois divorce lawyers have the skills and experience to handle the unique issues in gray divorces. If you have any questions about gray divorce, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online to arrange your fully confidential case review. With our law office in Orland Park, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Cook County, Will County, Lake County, and Kendall County. 

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