Wisconsin Estate Planning for Divorced Individuals

Milwaukee Attorneys Soften the Difficulty of Marital Breakups

Divorce can be a difficult and drawn-out process, a legal complication to an already stressful situation. Whether the dissolution of marriage is a mutual agreement or a nasty clash of differences, contacting an estate planning attorney is the best solution for protecting your assets and knowing all of the proper steps to take going forward.

Angermeier & Rogers provides estate planning for divorced individuals in Milwaukee and makes the process a little smoother by equipping you with as much information as possible. The more financial options offered, the better the outcome. Every situation is different; our family trust attorneys will build you a completely customized plan to lead you down the right path.

What Typically Happens to My Estate in a Divorce?

  • Wisconsin is one of the very few states to split property equally in a divorce
  • If the situation isn’t deemed appropriate, the property will NOT be split up equally

Does My Beneficiary Change Automatically After I Get a Divorce?

No. Your named beneficiary remains the same until you file a new form. For example, if you named your spouse a beneficiary, but now they are your ex-spouse, you must select a new beneficiary.

If you want your ex-spouse to still be named the beneficiary, leave your will as is.

Can I Name My Minor Children as a Beneficiary?

Yes. You can name your children as beneficiaries when they are underage; however, per Wisconsin law, the assets cannot be given to minors until they turn 18. If you pass away before the beneficiary turns 18, the court will decide who will be caretaker of the assets for that period of time.

In most cases, the court might select your ex-spouse, the surviving biological parent, as a temporary beneficiary until your children are of age. If this occurs, your ex-spouse might be allowed to spend part of the proceeds if it benefits the children. Appointing your current surviving spouse, relative, or close friend as a guardian to your minor children will make them eligible to become a temporary beneficiary instead of your ex-spouse. Once your oldest turns 18, the estate will then be transferred over to their care.

When Can I Remove My Ex-Spouse as Beneficiary?

You certainly can remove your ex-spouse as a listed beneficiary before the divorce process begins. If the divorce has already begun, wait until everything has been finalized and then go ahead with naming a new beneficiary.

Who Takes Care of My Kids if I’m Divorced & Pass Away?

In the unfortunate event of your passing and you were divorced from your spouse at the time, who will take care of the children you had together? Knowing your children are properly taken care of after your passing is so important and should be planned ahead of time.

Naturally, the state of Wisconsin dictates a surviving biological parent has first parental rights to minors, even if the deceased’s will has appointed someone else. This means a non-custodial parent could receive custody ahead of your current, surviving spouse. However, there are a few exceptions:

Parent History of Child Abuse, Neglect, or Abandonment

The surviving spouse’s first parental rights can be taken away if they have been charged with child abuse, neglect, or any other harmful behavior. In this scenario, the deceased spouse’s legal will overrules the surviving spouse’s rights and the child is turned over to the appointed legal guardian.

If the surviving parent is not granted custody and there is no legal guardian named, the courts will try to arrange for children to stay with relatives. This process can take time. By naming a legal guardian in your will, you can ensure your wishes are known and your child will be raised by the people you want and trust.

How Do I Revise My Will After a Divorce?

    1. Revoke

You can completely invalidate your will and create a brand new one. However, you MUST state in the new will that your old one is not active anymore.

    1. Amend

Another option is amending your will. You can amend your will and sign a codicil, which permanently changes any chosen part of the will.

    1. Execute

Once you’ve changed and/or added contents to your will, you must sign the will in front of two witnesses. They can also sign an affidavit that confirms the validity of your will.

To make revisions to your will after a divorce, contact Angermeier & Rogers for estate planning services. We have convenient office locations in Milwaukee, Brookfield, and Cedarburg.

Contact Angermeier & Rogers today to schedule an initial consultation with our Wisconsin estate planning attorneys.

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