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How Does Getting a Divorce Affect Your Estate Plan?

Published on December 20th, 2018

Estate Planning Lawyer

Getting a divorce can often be messy. It can also cause a great deal of emotional grief and financial hardship. Because there are so many battles to fight in a divorce, the first thing you think about might not necessarily be your will or estate. However, if not updated, you could pass away and leave your estate and belongings to your ex-spouse, leaving out others you would rather leave your belongings to. How can this be fixed?

Create a Will or Revoke Your Old One

If you have yet to create a will, this could be a smart opportunity to do so. In some cases, you can do so through online packages, or it might be best to get the legal counsel of an attorney when creating a will. When you create a will, you can leave all of your property to the people of your choosing, determine who your executor will be and have them take care of your estate, and decide who is the best fit to take care of minor children. If you already have a will, you can revoke it by destroying the physical copy and creating a new one

In some states, if you get a divorce, your ex-spouse’s rights to your will are automatically revoked. However, it is best not to assume that this is the case and make sure your will is as up-to-date as possible. Similarly, if you named your ex-spouse your executor, this might also be changed automatically if you get a divorce. As usual, though, it is best to go in and make sure these changes are put into effect.

One other benefit of having a will is naming a guardian for your children. While your appointed guardian cannot take care of your children while your ex-spouse (or the other parent of your children) is alive, if both parents pass away, the court can appoint your named guardian as their caretaker.

Update Your Beneficiary Designations

When you determine who will receive your assets, it is important that you update items such as your retirement accounts, your transfer-on-death brokerage accounts, pay-on-death bank accounts, and your life insurance policies. When updating the beneficiaries for these items, you should get new documents to file through your employer, brokerage company, or your bank.

Update Your Powers of Attorney

Giving someone power of attorney can allow you to be at peace if you are unable to make financial or medical decisions. It means you trust someone completely to make the best decisions in the event something tragic happens. However, if your ex-spouse is given power of attorney, it is time to make an update. In many cases, it is best to have two powers of attorney: one can manage your medical decisions and one can manage your financial decisions.

What is the Best Option For You?

Dealing with divorces can cause stress and pain in families. Updating your estate plan after a divorce should not be a cause for any added stress. If you have any additional questions about updating your estate plan after a divorce, you will want to consult an estate lawyer Allentown, PA offers to help with your estate planning.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and divorce.

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