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Divorcing couples should consider their estate plans

Ohio residents who are ending their marriages may reasonably be looking toward the near future to make important decisions during the process. These decisions may include spousal support, child support and property division. However, they should also look to their estate plan to determine the changes that should be made.

One important component of estate planning is acquiring and maintaining proper life insurance. Policies can often fill in the gaps by supplying enough funds to help the custodial parent continue to raise children and make up the missing child support that the death of the noncustodial parent has caused. The marital settlement agreement may include a provision requiring such a policy. This agreement may specify the amount of insurance that should be maintained, the requirement for the other spouse to be named as the beneficiary and the time period when such requirement should continue. This allows the parent who is receiving child support or spousal support to ensure that he or she will still receive funds even upon the death of the payor.

Another aspect of estate planning that may be triggered is if the paying spouse dies and the other spouse receives the proceeds. A trust may have been included in the marital settlement agreement. Such trusts can help direct the use of such funds.

There may be other estate planning documents that need to be changed in the event of a divorce. As an example, a testator who had appointed his or her spouse as the executor under a will may not want to have that person serve in that capacity after the marriage has ended. An estate planning attorney can review other existing documents to see if modifications are in order.

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