Reviewing and Revising Your Estate Plan Post-Divorce

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Divorce can be a complex and emotional process. Once it is finalized, you must take the time to review your estate plan and make any necessary changes to reflect your current family structure and goals. Knowing what needs to be updated and how to do so can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Why You Need to Revise Your Estate Plan after a Divorce

Your estate plan may include real estate, investments, and other assets that are no longer held jointly with your former spouse. Therefore, reviewing these documents to ensure that they are up-to-date and accurately reflect the current ownership of these assets is essential. Additionally, you may need to update beneficiaries or executors on specific accounts.

You may also consider how your estate plan will impact your children. For example, after a divorce, it is common for parents to want to provide support for their children in the event of death or incapacitation. This can include establishing trusts or other financial instruments that will provide financial stability for your children if something happens to you.

Lastly, reviewing any life insurance policies you have in place is essential. Your former spouse was the beneficiary of these policies, which may need to be updated.

What Documents Need to Be Updated

After a divorce, reviewing your estate plan and ensuring that all your documents are up-to-date are essential. The most commonly updated documents include the following:

  1. Will: Your will should be updated to reflect the removal of your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and to remove them from any decision-making role, such as that of an executor.
  2. Trusts: If you had a trust in place with your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, that document would need to be updated to remove them as a beneficiary or replace them with another beneficiary.
  3. Powers of Attorney: Powers of attorney are documents used to appoint someone else to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated or unable to do so. If you appointed your ex-spouse in these documents, you would need to update them and appoint a new individual.
  4. Health Care Directive: A health care directive is a document used to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to do so. If you named your ex-spouse as your healthcare proxy, this document will need to be updated.
  5. Beneficiary Designations: Any accounts that have named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, should have those beneficiaries removed or replaced with someone else.

Get in touch with Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C., your experienced local estate planning attorney, today for more information about how we can help you with your post-divorce estate planning needs!