Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce

When going through a divorce, you are probably experiencing many changes as you end a chapter in your life. Though this can be an emotionally trying and stressful time, it is important remember there are some important changes you must make to reflect your new circumstances. Among the most important of these is your estate plan. Your soon-to-be former spouse is likely included in much of your estate plan. Making the necessary changes as soon as possible is the best way to ensure your wishes are met should something happen to you.

Updating Your Estate Plan

When most couples get married, they often revise their estate plan to include their new spouse. In many cases, the spouse may even be appointed as sole beneficiary or executor of the estate.  When a couple decides to divorce, they may no longer wish to include their spouse in their estate. Fortunately, many states have enacted a law prohibiting a person from receiving an inheritance from their former spouse if the decedent had not yet update their Will. These laws, however, do not apply to designated accounts or the transferring of assets. As soon as you begin the divorce process, it is highly advised to review and make revisions to any accounts, assets or plans that may include your soon-to-be former spouse. This is the only way to protect your belongings and family members whom you wish to receive your inheritance.

After or during a divorce, there are many parts of your estate plan that may need tending to. The following are some of the crucial components of an estate to consider revising if you so wish:

  •         Your Will: Even if your state upholds the disinheritance law, it is always smart to plan ahead. In addition, you may want to reallocate your belongings in a certain manner which only can be done by updating the Will with specific instructions.
  •         Living Trust: If you have a revocable living trust naming your soon-to-be former spouse, you are able to make changes to it.
  •         Assets and Property: Any assets or property which you have ownership in should be reviewed. Assets or property you own apart from your spouse can be changed to transfer to another beneficiary. If you have co-ownership in assets and property, you may be able to leave your share to a different beneficiary.
  •         Life Insurance Policy and Retirement Plans: You must change and update the beneficiaries of these accounts, because they will be transferred after death to the named beneficiary
  •         Power of Attorney: If you become incapacitated and your former spouse is still listed as your Power of Attorney, they may be able to make health and financial decisions on your behalf. This can be changed along with the rest of your estate.

Working with an Attorney

During a divorce, you should speak with your divorce attorney and an estate planning attorney to understand your options. An estate planning attorney Roseville CA relies on can review your estate and ensure you take care of the necessary paperwork and revisions.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into updating your estate plan after a divorce.