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Posted on in Over 50

Unique Concerns for Divorcees Over 50Going through a divorce is fundamentally the same process for everyone, regardless of their age. You need to divide the life you shared, including the assets you accumulated and the responsibilities you hold. Getting divorced when you are age 50 or older means you will approach some of these issues differently than if you were a younger couple. Your children are likely either adults or getting close to adulthood, which makes child-related issues less of a focus. However, there are other issues that can be more complicated during a gray divorce:

  1. Health Insurance: Having good health insurance coverage becomes more vital as you get older and your healthcare expenditures likely increase. Divorce may disrupt your insurance if you are on your spouse’s plan. You need to find your own health insurance source until you are old enough to start receiving Medicare. If you are not eligible for Medicare based on your own work history, you can receive Medicare under your former spouse’s plan as long as you were married for at least 10 years and you have not remarried.
  2. Retirement: Dividing retirement assets is an issue in all divorces, but divorcees age 50 and older are dealing with plans that are more mature and closer to being used. If your retirement assets are far greater than your spouse’s assets, you will likely need to share some of its value with your spouse because they are at the age where it may be too late for them to build up their retirement assets on their own. You and your spouse can negotiate whether you will share your retirement assets in one lump sum or through continued payments.
  3. Estate Plan: People 50 and older are more likely to have created an estate plan for how to divide their assets upon their death and who should have the power to make decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. You can update these documents following your divorce to remove your spouse as the primary beneficiary. However, you might not completely cut your spouse out of your estate plan. For instance, you may agree to give your spouse assets upon your death as a replacement for spousal maintenance.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

If you have chosen to divorce after decades of marriage, you need to work with someone who is experienced in handling cases such as yours. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can handle all of the complicated life issues that come with gray divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Divorce

Five Documents You Must Update After DivorceChanging your marital status back to single has a wide-spread impact on various documents and forms of identification related to your life. There is a long list of updates that you will need to make, though many of them can wait until after you have completed your divorce. Failing to make these updates can cause confusion that will be more difficult to fix after the fact. You should write a list of documents that you need to update, which may include the following:

  1. Estate Plan: If you created a will or trust for after your death, your former spouse is likely the primary beneficiary. It is your choice whether your spouse should be completely cut out of the estate plan, but you likely want to change it from what you decided during your marriage. If you die before updating your estate plan, your former spouse and your family may get in a legal battle about who you intended to inherit your assets.
  2. Power of Attorney: An estate plan may include documents naming the person with the power of attorney over your health and financial decisions in the event that you are incapable of making your own decisions. Once again, your former spouse likely has this authority if the documents were created or updated during your marriage. You need to decide who should have the power of attorney instead.
  3. Life Insurance: You likely do not want your former spouse to benefit from your life insurance policy in the event of your death, but some divorcees still keep their former spouses as part of the policy. Life insurance could compensate your former spouse for spousal maintenance payments that you would no longer make after your death. If you want your children to be the sole beneficiaries of your life insurance, you may need to name your co-parent as the custodian of that money if the children are minors at the time of your death.
  4. Health Insurance: If you were previously on your spouse’s health insurance policy, you will need to sign up for your own insurance. If your spouse was previously on your insurance, you may be able to change your family plan to a single adult plan if you have no children or your children will be on your former spouse’s plan.
  5. Change of Address: If you have left your marital home, you need to update your permanent address with the state, such as on your driver’s license or state ID. You will also need to change your address on other accounts that include an address.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Getting a divorce is a complicated process with as many small changes as there are big changes. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create a to-do-list for during and after your divorce. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Division of Property

Trusts Protect Assets During DivorceProperties are categorized during a divorce as being marital or non-marital. Marital properties must be equitably divided between the spouses, but non-marital properties are exempt. A spouse has an incentive to identify non-marital properties in order to protect them. Spouses often share their most valuable assets, which may make them marital properties. However, a court may rule that a trust made in one spouse’s name is non-marital property, even if the other spouse was named as a beneficiary. Revocable trusts can protect money and properties from division during a divorce.

Understanding Trusts

A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, is an estate-planning document that allocates assets to beneficiaries without the need for probate court. The grantor puts income and properties into the trust, which is administered by a third-party trustee. Though the trust owns the assets, the grantor has control over them while alive. Upon the grantor’s death, the assets are distributed per the trust’s instructions. A spouse is often a primary beneficiary of a trust, but Illinois law automatically revokes a former spouse’s beneficiary status after completion of a divorce. If the trust was established for the sole purpose of benefiting the spouse, a divorce will revoke the entire trust.

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Posted on in Adoption

Malaysian Airlines, children, child custody, orphan, adoption, Kane County family lawThe recent disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing will have a number of repercussions. Air Safety standards will be adjusted, and search protocol will be reviewed and improved. There will be additional fallout as well, focused in the area of family law.

Of the 239 people on board Flight MH370, most, if not all, had families. Currently, news outlets are saying that the plane crashed and no one survived. Likely, children were orphaned by this tragedy, and they will need to be adopted by another caretaker. If couples were traveling together, or if a single parent was on board, then the children of these deceased may need to have someone appointed by the court to represent their interests during any subsequent legal action. In the United States this representative is called a Guardian Ad Litem. Adoption If the parent of a minor child – a child under 18 years of age – dies without a will, then usually another family member or close friend will take over care of the orphaned child. To ensure the new caretaker has the legal authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child, that person may need to go through the legal adoption process. If a parent dies and does have a will in place, then they may have, in that document, already appointed a testamentary guardian who will be legally responsible for the child. This guardian will have the right to make medical and legal decisions on the child’s behalf. The legal terms describing this responsibility are ones you may have heard before – the Power of Health Care and the Power of Attorney. The testamentary guardian does not necessarily have to have the right however, or the desire to be the daily caretaker of the child. For example, if a divorced mom appoints her own mother, the child’s grandmother, as a guardian in her will, a family court could still enter an order granting the child’s father physical custody. In many cases this may be best for the child, but if not, then the grandmother may want to legally adopt her grandchild. Guardian Ad Litem As it often seems in a child custody dispute, the fight over the child is between only two parties, when really, the child should have a voice in the matter. This is where a guardian ad litem comes in. A Guardian Ad Litem, or GAL, is a court-appointed attorney representing the legal interests of parties who cannot represent themselves – usually children or incapacitated adults. In some states the Guardian Ad Litem is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, but their responsibilities are the same. A Guardian Ad Litem is useful in many scenarios, and not only where a child is orphaned in a tragedy, or in the case of an absent parent. GALs are most often appointed in cases of abuse or unfit parents, but even where a custody battle has become particularly contentious, a GAL may be assigned to become the eyes and ears of the court and to help determine the best outcome for the child.

 Understandably, working through these issues may be extremely difficult for everyone involved. Professional advice from an experienced family law attorney can make matters much more manageable. Contact the experts at Goostree Law Group, today to get some answers and assistance with your case.

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