After you get married, you may need to make substantial updates to your estate plan. Marriage changes many parts of people’s lives, including their need to plan for the future in different ways.
How Could Marriage Change Your Estate Plan?
As you celebrate the beginning of a new marriage, you also might think about protecting your spouse in case anything happens to you. If you plan to have children or have new stepchildren due to the marriage, you probably want to protect them too.
Estate plans made before marriage most likely do not include future spouses or children. As a result, your new husband, wife, or partner might not inherit anything from your estate if you passed away unexpectedly. While spouses and children omitted from a will may inherit part of an estate in some cases, there are no guarantees. It provides more peace of mind to revise your will and other estate planning structures.
Will Your New Spouse Inherit Even If You Don’t Change Your Estate Plan?
In Illinois, an “omitted” spouse who married a deceased person after his or her will was signed and who is not included in the will might still inherit. The law may allow the spouse to make a claim against the estate, requiring the estate executor to distribute part of the assets to the spouse and reducing the amount that other heirs will receive. However, if the will explicitly omits the spouse, then the omitted spouse law may not apply. If any language in the will says that a spouse will not receive anything, then the probate court could decide that the deceased person disinherited the spouse on purpose.
Which Parts of Your Estate Plan Do You Need to Update?
You should review your entire estate plan shortly after marriage to see if you need to make any changes. This includes your will, powers of attorney, medical directives, trusts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, business succession plans, guardianship designations, and any other documents relating to the future. You and your spouse may want to visit an estate planning attorney (either the one who made your original estate plan or someone new). The attorney can advise you on any new legal issues that arise with your marriage, such as potential estate taxes or need for different language in the legal documents.
Want to update your estate plan? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.