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Estate Planning During & After a Long Island Divorce

Protect Your Assets (and potentially your life) As Soon As Divorce Proceedings Begin
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Estate Planning During & After a Long Island Divorce

Learn how to prevent your soon to be ex from making life-and-death decisions for you & having control over your estate while you’re going through a divorce.

Divorce affects both your current circumstances as well as your future. It also has an influence on your long-term objectives, such as your estate plan. If you made a will when you were engaged, or anytime after you got married, you most likely left your partner an inheritance of some kind.

You may have additionally designated your spouse to manage your money and make healthcare decisions in the event of your illness or incapacitation. If you don’t update your estate planning paperwork during or after your divorce, it’s possible that they may still have access to some benefits, assets, property, or accounts. Here’s what to update and how to get legal help from a veteran New York divorce lawyer.

How Getting a Long Island Divorce Can Impact Your Estate Plan

In New York, along with many other states in the U.S., assets named to your spouse in your will are automatically revoked upon resolution of your divorce. If you haven’t updated your will after your divorce, these assets will most likely go into probate where the state will determine how they are allocated to your family. However, there are other benefits that your spouse may still have access to if you don’t make any changes following your separation, such as retirement accounts, bank accounts, and your life insurance policy. Unless you identify someone else in your estate plan, your ex will most likely get the money if something happens to you.

Documents to Update When You’re Divorcing

If you’re considering getting a divorce or are going through the process of ending your marriage, consider updating the following critical documents now and don’t wait until your divorce is finalized:

Your Will

You can make changes to your will at any point, even if you are in the midst of getting a divorce. That said, after you begin the process of dissolving your marriage, both you and your spouse are prohibited from transferring property or assets or making changes to the assigned beneficiary on your retirement accounts.

There are several reasons you may want to make changes to your will as you go through the process of getting divorced. For example, if your will names your spouse as the administrator or executor of your estate (the individual responsible for the distribution of your assets and completing and filing all necessary paperwork), they may still be allowed to do this if you become incapacitated or die before changing this designation on your will.

Another important part of a will is the designation of an individual to become the guardian of your children if something should happen to both you and the other parent of your child. If you do not have this updated at the time of your divorce, and your will names your ex-spouse’s family as guardians, this could result in your children’s custody being given to your ex’s family even years after your divorce.

Your Power of Attorneys

You may have put Power of Attorneys in place when you created your will or managed your estate plan with the help of a lawyer. Many people named their spouse as the durable general power of attorney, which is a person who manages financial and legal affairs on your behalf if you pass away or become incapacitated.

If your Power of Attorneys documents are not updated at the time of your divorce, they may still remain legally binding and your ex-spouse may end up responsible for your legal and financial issues in the event that something unexpected occurs.

If you named your spouse as a health care power of attorney, they have the right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to make them. Again, this may stand if you become incapacitated after your divorce but before updating your Powers of Attorney documents.

Your Advance Directives

You may have also created an advance directive, also commonly referred to as a living will. This document outlines your desires and wishes if you become incapacitated and this results in a persistent vegetative state. For example, an advanced directive might include a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, or a directive to remove life support after a particular period of time.

If you do not update your advance directive when you get divorced in New York, there is a possibility that your ex-spouse could be in charge of making life-and-death decisions for you if you are injured in an accident or have some other health crisis and can no longer communicate and make decisions for yourself.

Life Insurance Policies & Retirement Accounts

When someone dies on Long Island, there are several things that are not considered part of the estate that are passed down through a person’s will. Instead, when you die, this property goes immediately to the designated beneficiary, regardless of whether or not that person is your ex-spouse. This includes but is not limited to your retirement accounts, like 401(k) and IRA accounts, pensions, life insurance policies, checking or savings accounts with a payable on death clause, or investment account that also has a transfer on death clause.

Once you finalize your divorce, you should reach out to the organizations that insure you and manage your accounts. Determine who is the designated beneficiary on your paperwork and make changes to this data if necessary. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that these beneficiaries are updated at the time of your divorce just because New York automatically removes your spouse as the beneficiary of assets in your will.

Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Today for Help With Estate Planning During a Divorce

At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we know how hard you’ve worked for your property and assets, and we’re committed to helping you protect them during your divorce. When you meet with us, we’ll go over your estate and help you determine what needs to change and how to proceed with the dissolution of your marriage.

Contact us today to learn more about the need for adequate estate planning assistance during the process of getting a divorce or to book a consultation to meet with one of our experienced Long Island divorce attorneys. Call now by dialing 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning During & After a Long Island Divorce

 

How can I best protect my assets during a divorce?

While most, if not all, assets and property are vulnerable during a divorce, there is one valuable asset protection tool you can use. You can put some or all of your assets into a foreign bank account via an Offshore Asset Protection Trust, which maintains an international Limited Liability Company (LLC). This is one of the most powerful asset-protection methods available in a Long Island divorce.

 

If I don’t update my will after a divorce, will New York enforce the old terms?

If you made a will during the course of your marriage, any assets intended for your ex-spouse would be immediately rescinded if you divorced. According to New York state law, any inheritances given to your former spouse in your will are effectively canceled if the marriage is annulled or dissolved.

GET YOUR FREE CONSULTATION TODAY
Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

 

Robert Hornberger and Christine Verbitsky

Get your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today.

Your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this conversation, we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.​

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below for your free consultation and case evaluation.

 

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02:21 01 Apr 22
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Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
21:06 25 Jan 22
The team at Hornberger Verbitsky made me feel at ease after I retained them after a 3 year contested divorce process. I like their approach with how they educate you on ways to get the best outcome in your divorce. Mr. Hornberger made me feel heard and was compassionate to my case while also being aggressive in the courtroom to help me get the most positive outcome. He prevented my case from having to go to trial and he closed the deal in my long drawn out emotional divorce. I was happy that I retained him and would recommend him to anyone that is going through a high conflict divorce.
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Elizabeth Martin
Elizabeth Martin
21:06 25 Jan 22
The team at Hornberger Verbitsky made me feel at ease after I retained them after a 3 year contested divorce process. I... like their approach with how they educate you on ways to get the best outcome in your divorce. Mr. Hornberger made me feel heard and was compassionate to my case while also being aggressive in the courtroom to help me get the most positive outcome. He prevented my case from having to go to trial and he closed the deal in my long drawn out emotional divorce. I was happy that I retained him and would recommend him to anyone that is going through a high conflict divorce.read more
rrezarta lekaj
rrezarta lekaj
20:47 24 Nov 21
Christine is truly the best there is. She is beyond professional, personable, genuine, extremely trusting, and has made... such a stressful and emotional time for my family and I easier to get through. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your guidance, your support, and being there every step of the way. I would highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. to anyone that is in need for legal advice - you will be in the best hands.read more
Janine Martello D'onofrio
Janine Martello D'onofrio
21:00 02 Oct 21
Rob and Christine are the very best out there!I can not say enough about them. They both have helped me so much in... different matters throughout the last several years . They have gone over and beyond!I highly recommend this law firm !read more
Tara Tocci
Tara Tocci
20:59 17 Sep 21
I called to make an appointment for a consultation to discuss a mediated divorce, the office was fantastic with getting... me a prompt appointment. When going in all my questions were asked and I left feeling comfortable in my decision to move forward in using the Hornberger/Verbitsky office. Despite a pandemic going on the office still worked diligently to get my papers filed and my divorce complete in a timely manner. Highly recommend!read more
cristina romero
cristina romero
20:17 17 Sep 21
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C were phenomenal in every way. Robert was very genuine, patient and professional. Walking in,... I had no idea what to expect but he went above and beyond to explain the entire process thoroughly. He guided and informed me of my rights. Patty was amazing, she answered every question I had no matter how many times I called, she was very understanding. I highly recommend Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Even if its just for questions on how to navigate this process.read more
Kerri
Kerri
16:57 17 Sep 21
Rob and his team are by far one of the greatest! Patty is amazing and will make sure all of your questions are... addressed and responded to. Rob and his team made a very tough time in my life as simple as possible. Rob is extremely knowledgeable and very empathetic. Patty was a pleasure to work with and I would recommend this firm to anyone that needs a great divorce attorney. Thank you for all of your help!read more
Angela Thearle
Angela Thearle
00:21 07 Aug 21
Hornberger law was the best choice I made when I needed to go to family court with my ex for custody of my children.... They were there at any time when I neeeded them. Going through a custody battle can be a huge emotional rollercoaster and very painful. They helped me through it and made it less painful and heartbreaking. And I got the outcome plus more than I expectedread more
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular... basis.read more
LilMissPerfct Dessie
LilMissPerfct Dessie
06:46 11 Feb 21
I am a graduate of Norland English nanny college. I thank God every day that Mr. Robert Hornberger protected my clients... in the legal ways i could not. Children are a blessing not a blender to be fought over during some silly spat!read more
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with... Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.read more
A Google User
A Google User
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to... achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.read more
Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client... to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal issues.read more
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Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when... you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.read more
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working... with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.read more
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my... consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!read more
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly
Ashley Hubner
Ashley Hubner
20:30 14 Feb 20
Navigating my divorce was a challenging experience to say the least, but I was supported and guided every step of the... way by my attorney, Robert. With the daunting task of hiring a divorce lawyer, I knew I would need someone with the right combination of knowledge, compassion and integrity. Robert has a strong background in family law, sincere character and direct communication to be superior to the others. He and his staff were professional and caring. I always felt I was in good hands. I highly recommend the Law Offices Hornberger and Verbitsky for the legal expertise, compassion and understanding of the many complex facets associated with divorce.read more
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Thomas Livingston
21:31 26 Jan 20
Robert and Christine are the epitome of professionalism. They helped us with the purchase of our new home. They were... efficient, dedicated, and focused on making our closing as seamless as possible.read more
Sheila Vasata
Sheila Vasata
23:35 14 Jan 20
Robert Hornberger has been a friend of mine and my family for years. He has helped us all in ways that are too... numerable to mention. I went through a divorce that I don’t think I could’ve done if I didn’t have Robert by my side. He is vivacious, motivated, knowledgeable, and has an extreme desire to succeed and excel...and he does! He goes over and above for all of his clientele. I would recommend his law firm to anybody who is looking for a Great Lawyer with integrity!read more
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