Should you change your estate plan after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2022 | Divorce, Estate Planning | 0 comments

Going through a divorce is rarely simple. Even if you and your ex-spouse opted for a collaborative divorce, the end of your marriage likely brought a multitude of tasks for you to complete. For example, you may have had to find a new place to live, close joint accounts and acclimate to a hectic child custody arrangement.

While it may have been tempting to put your estate plan on the back burner, you should not put off reviewing and updating important documents. After all, if your ex-spouse appears on any of them, these documents may no longer reflect your genuine wishes.

Advance directives and living wills

An advance directive and living will help you manage your end-of-life care. You may have also used these documents to name a health care agent who has the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. If that agent is your ex-spouse, you may no longer feel comfortable leaving critical medical decisions to him or her.

Financial and legal powers of attorney

Just as you can use the estate planning process to name a health care agent, you can also create financial and legal powers of attorney. With these, you select a person to make money- and legal-related decisions for you. If you do not want your ex-spouse to have these powers, it is probably time either to revoke your powers of attorney or to change them.

Beneficiary designations

Your will may list your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, entitling him or her to receive some or even all of your assets after your death. Your ex also may be the designated beneficiary on your retirement accounts or insurance policies. As CNBC points out if you would rather leave these valuable assets to someone else, rewriting your estate plan is an urgent matter.

Ultimately, to ensure your estate plan matches your true intentions, it is crucial to update it after any changes to the makeup of your family.