How To Cope With The Problems Of Inheritance And Divorce
Inheritance and divorce issues can be difficult to understand, especially when you consider that every state has its own laws. What is certain is that any change in your circumstances warrants another look at how your affairs are structured, ideally with professional assistance. Just overlooking one important point could mean that your assets pass to the people you would definitely not want them to pass to, instead of those you would like to benefit from your estate. Proper planning is absolutely essential, and it is equally important to amend those plans when necessary.
Marriage and divorce create two totally separate problems when it comes to inheritance. Firstly, there is the problem of a potential divorce for the person making a will. This will have an effect on the level of their assets, and may even invalidate part of the will if certain conditions can no longer be met. Secondly, there is the potential problem of someone inheriting money while they are in a marriage which is about to end. The two cases are obviously completely different, and need handling in different ways.
It is often difficult to assess the potential financial damage of a divorce in advance, but it is safe to say that your asset levels will be diminished. It is certain that any will you had drawn up before the divorce will need to be amended. If money was to be left to your marital partner, you will want to change your will even before the divorce takes place, in case you should die suddenly in the meantime. Once your revised income and assets are known, you can always make further revisions to the will.
Dealing with money that you are going to receive as a beneficiary is more difficult, as it depends entirely on the laws of the individual state in which you live. In most states, there will not be a problem as the inherited money will be classed as separate property. In this case, the money will remain yous after any divorce has taken place. In some other states where this law does not apply, you will have greater problems. If you know that you are due to be a beneficiary of a will, you should discuss the situation with the other party to find the right solution.
The higher your asset level, the greater the potential problems with any divorce inheritance. Once you reach the level where inheritance tax would have come into play anyway, you will need to have your estate structured by a professional. This is where you can get the advice you need considering divorce at the same time. There is never any substitute for taking advice from a professional who is licensed to practice in your state, as they will know exactly how to handle inheritance and divorce.
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Andrew Hagger is founder of personal finance website Moneycomms.co.uk..
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Hax: More sage advice from readers
While Im away, readers give the advice. I am always shocked by people expecting an inheritance. My dad is 84 and I am 55 EUR” Ive received my inheritance every day for the past 55 years. It comes in my values, my work ethic, the good memories, my education and too many other things to list...
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