Estate Planning and Divorce

It has been this authors experience that the engagement agreements of many divorce attorneys specifically disclaim the divorce attorney’s responsibility for any tax or estate planning issues involved in the divorce settlement.


When divorce occurs, there are important tax law and estate planning issues that need to be addressed. -- especially by high net worth families. Unfortunately, these issues are often ignored or misunderstood. Divorcing spouses often wrongly assume that their divorce attorney understands the gift tax, estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax implications of the divorce settlement (some do.. many don't). The best practice is to have a competent tax and estate planning lawyer involved in the divorce settlement negotiations... this is especially necessary where the divorce attorney’s engagement agreement specifically disclaims responsibility for any tax or estate planning issues.


Also, all existing estate planning documents (including beneficiary designations) should be reviewed and redrafted by an estate planning attorney.


See: Planning for Divorce from the Perspective of a Tax and Estate Planner by Attorney John J. Scroggin, AEP, J.D., LL.M.

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