DivorceEstate PlanningHow Does Divorce Impact Your Estate Planning In Texas?

August 5, 20220
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There are many things to think about when going through a divorce. As you worked together in your marriage to plan out your future as to how you would raise your children, where to live, and where to buy a house, put together a retirement plan, a will, combined assets, and healthcare. Now, as you are divorcing, how does your divorce impact your estate planning in Texas? First, you have to divide everything you built together:

  1. You must figure out custody rights and who lives or gets to keep the family home.
  2. As you work through dividing your assets, it’s crucial to re-review the estate plan that you put together with your ex-spouse.
  3. You must figure out your new future and how your divorce impacts your estate planning in Texas.

It’s important to note that an estate plan is not something you draft once and forget. It would be best if you thought of it as an ongoing process that occasionally needs reviewing and updating. A divorce does not automatically modify or revoke any documents in your estate plan. Our Texas divorce attorneys will explain below what you need to consider as you review and make changes to your estate planning. 

Update and change your will 

One of the most important parts of your estate is your will. As mentioned above, your will remains valid after a divorce, so you will most likely want to update and change your will. However, you will need to discuss these changes during your divorce with your ex. Here are some of the questions you will want to think about;

  • Do you still want the same guardians named to raise your children if you both pass away?
  • What assets will each of you take after the divorce?
  • Who would you like to receive your assets?
  • Should you set up a trust to protect your assets?

As you may know, estate planning in Texas includes more than a will or trust.

Make necessary changes to your life insurance policies.

Before your divorce is final, you will want to review all aspects of your life insurance policy. It is crucial to make any necessary changes to your policy, including who will now receive your life insurance money and who will be made your primary beneficiary.  

What will happen to your health insurance?

While married, you may both be on the same health insurance. However, now that you are divorcing, you will have to find your own insurance or work out a plan to stay under your ex-spouse’s health care plan. Or your ex-spouse may ask about staying under your health insurance. Therefore, a health insurance plan is an integral part of your divorce that should not be overlooked. 

If you have children, you must decide who’s health insurance plan will better cover your children. Who will assist with payments depending on whose plan the children are under? Monthly health insurance payments should be included in your monthly child support payments. 

Before your divorce is finalized, you will certainly want to discuss health insurance with your ex-spouse, which should also be addressed with your Texas divorce attorney.

How retirement benefits affect your estate planning in Texas

You have worked hard to get to the point where you can enjoy your retirement. However, determining the marital portion of retirement accounts can be complicated. It depends on the type of retirement plan and when contributions were made into the account.

When deciding how to divide retirement benefits, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Are the retirement benefits considered marital property? – If you married later in life and contributed to your retirement plan long before marriage, you may be able to keep most of it.
  • How is community property divided? – Texas is considered a community property state. Therefore, everything that contributed to your retirement plans while you were married would be split 50-50.

What happens to social security?

According to SSA.gov, “social security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on your lifetime earnings.” You have contributed to your retirement fund every year you have worked; for some people, this is a massive part of their retirement plan. However, an important question is; can your spouse claim some of your social security, or can you claim theirs?

Here are some rules regarding claiming social security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record:

  • You must have been married for at least ten years.
  • You are not currently married.
  • You are 62 years or older or disabled.
  • Your ex’s benefits are more significant than yours.
  • Your divorce must be finalized at least two years prior unless your ex is already receiving benefits.

There are more rules and regulations regarding claiming your ex’s social security benefits. Therefore, discussing your retirement plans with your divorce attorney in Texas is essential as you work through your divorce.

Working with a Trusted Texas Divorce Attorney to assist you with your estate planning in Texas. 

Working with a Texas family law attorney who understands how a divorce in Texas can impact your estate planning is crucial. They know the difficulties of getting a divorce and what happens afterward. Our Texas family law attorneys are here to answer all your questions and support you before, during, and after your divorce.

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