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You may also resume use of your former name as part of a divorce proceeding. In order to keep records straight, any name change should be communicated to all government agencies that might be affected, such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Further, you should notify your bank, insurance companies, employers, and others of your change in name and marital status. Marriage does not automatically put the spouses' property in both of their names. However, most property and pensions acquired during the marriage except for inheritance, certain portions of personal injury awards, property owned separately before the marriage, and gifts from other people are treated as both spouses' property in the event of a divorce.

State and federal laws give married people many different rights in each other's property, pensions, and insurance in the event of divorce or death. If you choose to put property solely in your spouse's name, however, or to title your pre-marital property in both names, that may diminish your legal right to it upon divorce.

Virginia generally applies the concept of equitable distribution to all property acquired by the parties from the date of marriage regardless of how the title to that property is held. It is possible for the spouses to change or give up the rights they obtain in each other's property by reason of their marriage through a written agreement, such as a prenuptial or premarital or marital agreement.

Legal status

Such agreements are in accordance with public policy to encourage and strengthen marriage. Marriage is a very serious commitment, and couples should communicate property concerns and considerations to each other before marriage. Marriage does not automatically make one spouse responsible for the individual debts of the other if the spouses did not co-sign the loans or credit card applications. However, a spouse may become liable to a third person for the cost of any basic necessities provided to the other spouse by the third person. If you and your spouse incur debts together, the creditor can usually sue either one of you for the entire amount.

In a divorce, the judge will divide the debts between the spouses, not always equally.

Sometimes this will include some debts that are only in one spouse's name. All insurance companies that may be affected by your change in status should be notified immediately. In addition, consider changing the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies. Automobile insurance rates may change favorably for you, and both spouses can be named as insured on the same policy. Combining hospitalization coverage can also save money, especially if one of you is covered by a group policy. An insurance agent can be helpful in advising you about what should be done with existing coverage and what additional coverage, if any, should be obtained.

You may desire to give your spouse the power to act on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of handling your own affairs due to accident, sickness, or distant travel. Without a power of attorney, your spouse may be powerless to make decisions on your behalf. Powers of attorney can be designed to be effective only when certain specified conditions exist. The person granting a power of attorney can revoke the power at any time, so long as he or she is mentally competent. You should consult your attorney to determine whether a power of attorney would be appropriate in your case, and if so, what the scope of such power should be.

In marriage, spouses are mutually responsible for the support of each other. Circumstances may arise in which one of you might become obligated to support the other.

Estate planning advice for blended families and second marriages

Both of you should be aware of this as you establish your respective roles in the marital relationship. Usually the question of this support obligation only arises upon separation or divorce, and at that time the court will look to the history of the marriage as well as to who was at fault in its breakdown. If either of you has been placed in a financially dependent position by the marriage, the partner with the earning power or financial means may be ordered to contribute to the support of the financially dependent partner.

Therefore, even though a marriage must be built on faith, both spouses should closely examine the plans for each of their respective roles in the marriage and the possible consequences of this arrangement in the event of separation or divorce. It is never too early to write a will. Even though you may be young or have few assets, it is wise to consult a lawyer about estate planning.

It is not how much you have but where you want your property to pass upon your death that is important. Disclaimer: This site contains general legal information for people in Ontario, Canada. Close Browse all Resources and Publications Browse by language. Abuse and Family Violence. Consumer Law. Criminal Law.

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What happens to property if my spouse dies?

Immigration and Refugee. Legal System. Social Assistance and Pensions. American Sign Language Resources. ESL Resources for Teachers. Facebook Twitter Vimeo. Search form Search. Debt and Consumer Rights. Income Assistance. Posters and Bookmarks. Print page. View entire document. Language English French Chinese Spanish. Step 1: Choose language Step 2: Choose from available formats and options. Unlike a joint estate, antenuptial contracts continue to apply after the death of one spouse.

Therefore, if the marriage is out of community of property with accrual, and the accrual of the surviving spouse's estate is less than that of the deceased spouse's estate, the surviving spouse must lodge a claim with the executor against the deceased spouse's estate for his or her share.

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Equally, if the accrual of the deceased spouse's estate is less than that of the surviving spouse's estate, the executor will lodge a claim against the surviving spouse on behalf of the deceased spouse's estate. If the marriage is out of community of property, it is doubly important to have a will in place, to ensure the surviving spouse inherits in accordance with the wishes and intentions of the deceased, usually discussed and agreed jointly by the couple, says Dippenaar.

Dippenaar explains that, if one wishes to change your marital regime, you can do so by way of a postnuptial contract. You can also ensure your spouse is looked after financially in the event of your death via your will. Money Clinic Get your financial questions answered. Press Code We subscribe to the Press Code. Newsletters You choose what you want. Contact us Lost? Let us help you. In partnership with. Financial Troubles Eskom has projected another R20 billion full-year loss for the financial year. Fastjet to exit Zim The low-cost airline says it plans to sell its Zimbabwean unit to a consortium.

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