If you have specific individuals who you want to inherit your assets after you pass, it is critically important that you put together a will. You can easily do this by contacting a Los Angeles estate planning attorney to help you manage your belongings after you die. A common question that comes up is what happens to your estate when you are divorced from your spouse? What do rights do they have to your property and wealth?
If you are facing a divorce, there are many things that you and your ex-partner have to consider and divide. You may be asking yourself the same question regarding whether or not your spouse will inherit your belongings. Under California’s intestacy law, when you pass on if you do not have a will and are legally separated from your partner, your partner has no ability to inherit. When you die without a will that is legally termed dying “intestate.” In this situation, it is your closest relatives that will inherit your assets in the event of your death without a will.
How Are Pensions Affected By Divorce?
The Probate Code is not all-encompassing when it comes to what happens to the entirety of your property after you die. As for pension plans and retirement accounts, there are other laws that govern how they are dispersed. Under these laws, you have the right to define a person of your choice to be the beneficiary of the accounts, and this person can be independent of the arrangements you made in your will or trust. When a divorce or legal separation takes place, your retirement is a big chunk of your assets that will be considered in your division.
Any monetary contributions you made to your retirement before you were married or if you were able to receive the benefits of your pension before you were married, you are the only one who is entitled to those funds. However, any money contributed or pension benefits received while you were married are subject to being treated as community property between you and your spouse.
If you divorce before you receive your retirement benefits, and you are still contributing to your account, working with an expert to determine how much your pension fund will be worth in the future when it is time to collect is important in order to figure out what each spouse will have rights to. Some considerations include the type of plan you have, whether it be a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan. The difference between the two is significant when calculating the value of your pension plan and making a determination on how much you and your ex-spouse are entitled to receive.
Find an Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego Today
Establishing where the funds in your retirement will go after you die is a complex process, especially if you are divorcing. Pension plans are generally not easily cut in half, not to mention that if money is taken out of the plan prematurely to appease a divorce settlement, there could be significant tax disadvantages to this move. There is no doubt that California divorces are challenging and quite complicated.
At the Leiva Law Firm, our California probate and estate planning attorneys will help you work through all the red tape when it comes to the division of assets including how your retirement will be affected by divorce. Contact the California estate lawyers at Leiva Law today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation by calling (818) 703-1777 to learn more.