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Why do you have to update your estate plan after a divorce?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2023 | Estate Planning & Probate

A divorce is a life-altering event that can significantly affect various aspects of your life, including your estate plan. When going through a divorce, it’s essential to reassess and update your estate plan to help ensure that your wishes are still accurately reflected and that your assets are distributed according to your current intentions.

To update your estate plan, gather all relevant documents, including your existing will, beneficiary designations, power of attorney, and healthcare directives. Having these materials readily available will help streamline the updating process and can ensure that no critical details are overlooked.

Revisiting your will and testamentary documents

After a divorce, you should review and update your will and testamentary documents to help ensure they accurately reflect your new circumstances. For example, your will may include provisions related to your former spouse, such as designating them as an executor or beneficiary.

Removing or modifying these provisions to align with your current wishes is essential. Failing to update your will can lead to unintended consequences, and your assets may be distributed contrary to your intentions.

Revisit beneficiary designations

In addition to updating your will, you should revisit the beneficiary designations on your various accounts, such as life insurance policies, retirement plans, and bank accounts. Many people designate their spouse as the primary beneficiary, and in the event of a divorce, it is crucial to update these designations promptly. Failing to do so could mean that your ex-spouse still inherits those assets, which may be inconsistent with your desires.

Revise power of attorney and healthcare directives

During a divorce, it’s crucial to revisit your power of attorney and healthcare directives. These documents grant decision-making authority to an individual in the event of your incapacity.

You may have initially appointed your former spouse to fulfill these roles, and updating them post-divorce is essential to help ensure that the right person is entrusted with making important decisions on your behalf.

Divorce is a significant life event that necessitates a reassessment of many aspects, including your estate plan. Failing to update your estate plan after a divorce can lead to unintended consequences. By revisiting the estate plan, you can help ensure it is up to date and aligned with your post-divorce intentions.