Wills and Estate Planning During Divorce

As this is a divorce blog, we don’t spend too much time talking about probate, Wills, or estate planning issues. However, those issues are often relevant in family law and divorce matters. In just about every divorce case we do here at Cokerlegal, we end up preparing new Wills for those clients who already have them and often prepare a first Will for those who don’t.

Most married couples I meet have what are referred to as “Mom and Pop Wills.” These Wills leave everything to the testator’s spouse, in the event of death, and then to the kids. It is usually the case that, once a couple decides to divorce, they no longer wish to designate their spouse as the beneficiary of their estate or the person who controls the disposition of their assets. Accordingly, it’s usually necessary to update or draft a new Will when someone is going through divorce.

Also, Wills usually deal with more than who gets what when a person dies. It’s possible in Texas to establish trusts for your children in a Will. It’s also possible to set out who you would want to take care of your kids if something happens to both parents. This ability is often the most important consideration for divorcing parents.

Finally, when we do Wills for clients, we usually do a complete package of planning documents, including the Last Will and Testament, Living Will (also known as a Directive to Physicians), Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and Designation of Guardian. These additional documents provide for what happens to you and your estate, and who makes important decisions for you, in the event you are unable to do that for yourself. Again, most married couples, who already have these documents, have designated their spouse to do this for them. As stated above, during and after divorce, most people want to change this designation.

Through the end of June, our office is running a special for 50% off our consultation fee for Will and Estate Planning Consults. This discount is for our office Facebook Fans. If you would like to take advantange of this offer, go to our Facebook Fan Page (www.facebook.com/CokerLegal) and become a fan. Then contact our office by e-mail or phone, mention you’re a Facebook Fan, and set a time for your consult. Whether you are involved in a divorce or not, it is important for everyone to have a Will. Texas has one of the simplest and most progressive Probate processes in the country, but it is only simple and efficient if you have a Will that takes advantage of those processes.

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