You’re officially divorced and positive that everything in your life is settled (legally, anyway). Unfortunately, that might not be the case if your estate planning documents still reflect your old marital status. Fortunately, any provisions in your existing Will that leave assets to your ex-spouse will be revoked by law after divorce. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you actively take steps to create a new will and generally update your estate plan to ensure that the appropriate individuals in your life will control your legal rights and property when you die or become incapacitated. That is, unless you still wish to bequeath property to your ex-spouse at death. Since that is probably not the case, here are some estate planning changes to consider after divorce:
- Close any joint accounts like credit cards or savings accounts that you shared with your ex.
- Create a fresh Will and update any Guardianship provisions regarding what will happen to your children in the event that something happens to both you and your ex-spouse.
- Update any Trusts and reevaluate who your beneficiaries should be and how much property you’d like them to receive and when.
- Update all insurance policies, IRA’s, 401k’s, or any other retirement accounts that may name your ex as a beneficiary. These will not automatically change after divorce.
- Destroy or revoke your previous Durable Power of Attorney if it named your ex-spouse and create a new one.
- Destroy or revoke your previous Advance Health Care Directive if it authorized your ex-spouse to make future health care decisions on your behalf.
It is important to remember that at death, according to the court, whatever your legal document says goes. So, if you do not want your ex-spouse to receive certain property or benefits, you should see a licensed attorney to revoke your old estate plan and incorporate your current wishes into a new one. Hopefully, an updated estate plan can give you some peace of mind as you begin your new life after divorce.
The attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have years of experience handling complex estate planning matters including wills and living trusts. If you are interested in developing an estate plan or reviewing your current estate plan, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri for further information and a free half-hour consultation.
Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.