The tax reform act that when into effect January 1, 2018, has had a significant impact on all Americans, including all divorcing couples, especially wealthier couples with significant assets. This article from the N.Y. Times recommends such divorcing couples consider 4 strategies, some new, some have always been good advice for everyone:
One reason Patricia L. Brown & Associates handles probate, wills, trusts and powers of attorney is so many of our family law and divorce clients do not have these documents. Perhaps the term "estate planning" misleads people who confuse "estates" with mansions. If you own virtually anything of value (automobile, furniture, family photographs and momentos, a bank account, a TV, etc) or have minor children, you need a will and powers of attorney. Otherwise, some anonymous judge will decide who receives the items you value, including perhaps your despised brother-in-law. And if you are injured or ill and cannot make your own health care decisions, who do you want making those decisions? That brother-in-law?
Whenever I give I talk, I ask for a show of hands regarding who has a will. It is usually much less than half. When I ask how many have updated their will in the last 3 years, I get 1 or 2 hands, or none. Most of us postpone doing a will because it reminds us of the inevitable. Yet it is probably the most important legal document you will ever be a party to. If you own anything or have children and die unexpectedly (few of us expect to die unexpectedly!), a stranger, a judge with no personal knowledge of you, will oversee the disposition of your assets and your children.