Most divorce professionals believe estate planning is something to do “after the divorce is final.” But what happens if a divorcing person loses capacity or dies before their divorce is final? Que horror stories! Engaging in estate planning during the preliminary phase of divorce (pre-petition) is optimal, and De Fonte Law PC works with clients at all stages of their divorce. Every divorcing client needs a team to support them, along with their family law attorney.
De Fonte Law PC is very clear about protecting our clients through their divorce journey. It is essential to review the California Uniform Power of Attorney, adding specific permissions related to the divorce. It is equally important to update the Advance Healthcare Directive, to further cement their preferences and agents.
During the divorce process, it is crucial to have notarized copies sent to both the divorcing client and the divorce attorney. If children are involved, reviewing the guardianship nomination form and fast-tracking that document for signature is imperative.
Funding the Newly Established Trust
Once the long-form Durable Power of Attorney, Revocable Trust, and ancillary documents are executed, there is typically a slight pause in progress. This pause is entirely normal, and it is because every divorce court in California issues Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO) over all property owned by a divorcing individual. As a result, the revocable trust cannot be funded with any property until the divorce is final or the presiding judge gives permission to do so.
Once the divorce is final, education is critical to funding our client’s trust. At De Fonte Law PC, we educate our clients on the trust funding process, reviewing assets and advisors, and the decisions our clients have made. It is vital that a client’s professional team has everything they need to transfer assets, make the right beneficiary designations, and help lay the foundation to properly fund the trust for years to come.
Working With an Estate Planning Lawyer Throughout a Divorce
It is crucial to have an estate planning lawyer who specializes in divorce on each client’s team. We work with those considering and executing the dissolution of marriage. We understand that divorce is a challenging journey. This is why we work with each client’s family law attorney and other advisors to build a team of support.