Protecting Your Family And Future

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Divorce
  4.  » Reviewing and updating your will during a Grey divorce

Reviewing and updating your will during a Grey divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Divorce, Estate Planning |

The rate of divorce for those over 50 has risen substantially in the past decade. This phenomenon is known as a “grey” divorce due to increased longevity, greater economic autonomy, and changing views on marriage and divorce. In a grey divorce, especially among those with substantial combined assets, various legal and financial considerations must be considered. One of the most important of these is to review and update your will.

Review your existing will

If you are divorcing in your later in life, you may already have a will that requires updating to implement any changes. When altering your will in the context of a grey divorce, the initial move is to update your beneficiaries. Commonly, the beneficiary listed in your will is your spouse, but as you are separating, you need to change the beneficiaries for your estate, which could include your children, siblings, or other relatives.

In Illinois, you can revoke your spouse’s inheritance rights when undergoing a divorce by using a revocation-on-divorce clause in your will. This clause voids any specifications that appoint your former partner as an inheritor of your estate, which implies that if you pass away, your ex-partner will not acquire any portion of your estate. The legacy will then go to the beneficiaries you have designated.

Evaluate your assets

When going through a divorce, it is vital to consider all of your possessions and how they will be divided. One issue to address when revising a will amid a grey divorce is the division of property. Illinois law states that marital property is to be allocated equitably, meaning the court will distribute possessions reasonably in consideration of factors like each partner’s earnings and contributions to the marriage.

Retirement assets, such as pensions and 401(k)s, are considered marital property and susceptible to equitable division in a divorce.

If you own a commercial or rental property with your former spouse, you need to decide how the asset will be distributed and update your will appropriately. You may also need to determine who will manage any corporate interests you may have.

Make necessary updates

When you change your will, you should be familiar with the Illinois statutes regarding divorce and inheritance. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which implies that the court will divide assets fairly, but not necessarily equally, including each partner’s contribution to the marital estate, the length of the marriage, and the economic situations of each spouse.

In Illinois, if you die before modifying your will after a divorce, your ex-partner may be allowed to acquire your entire estate under state law. Even if you have been separated or divorced for several years, if you have not amended your will to show this, the court will still view your ex-partner as a surviving spouse and treat them as such.

Failing to update your will can lead to confusion and conflict among your surviving family members. If your will doesn’t mirror your present desires, it could lead to costly and extended court battles and needless emotional distress for your loved ones.