Divorce and Estates, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

The Georgia courts are currently having to sort through a difficult case over the issue of whether a widow is entitled to a widow’s allowance.

Recently, the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog wrote about an interesting Georgia case in “Can a Divorce Filing Prevent a Wife from Receiving a Widow’s Allowance?

Just hours before passing away, a man filed for divorce. That divorce filing was made moot by his death.

However, the mere act of filing for divorce triggered a post-nuptial agreement that he entered into with his wife, in which the wife waived her right to any support from the man’s estate. The post-nuptial agreement did include provisions that provided for continuing support for the wife and property division, but those provisions were made void by the man’s death.

The question for the courts, is whether the wife is entitled to a widow’s allowance from the state or if that is barred by the post-nuptial agreement.

This is not an easy case to decide.

It highlights the difficult legalities of estate planning when combined with marital agreements and divorce. One thing people need to understand is that when entering into a marital agreement, it is important that both parties receive separate legal advice that includes advice about what happens in the event one of them passes away.

The estate planning implications need to be understood, before the agreement is signed.

The same thing is true in a divorce. Even under the best of circumstances, divorces have estate planning consequences that the parties need to seek legal advice about.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (April 6, 2017) “Can a Divorce Filing Prevent a Wife from Receiving a Widow’s Allowance?


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