Revising Estate Plans Before and After Divorce

After a divorce, it’s understandable that you’re tired of sifting through legal documents. If you do not take the actions now to revise your estate plan in light of your divorce, you could end up facing undesirable estate planning results. As a result, you should at least consider gathering your old estate planning documents and evaluating what you will need to update. This article reviews a few of the most commonly used types of estate planning documents that you should make sure to update after a divorce.


Create a New Will


Wills are the central document in most estate plans. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your will is adequately updated in light of your divorce. You will likely want to create a will that will no longer pass on your assets to your former spouse. You should also make sure to revoke your old will. 




If you have children below the age of 18, you should utilize a new will to appoint a guardian, who will watch over your children. Remember, however, any decisions about the care of your children found in divorce or settlement arrangements will control your decisions. 


Living Trusts


Revocable living trusts are a type of legal arrangement that addresses who will inherit your assets at the time that you pass away. Assets placed in a trust often bypass probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. Following the revocation or dissolution of your trust, you should consider creating a new trust.


Beneficiary Designations


Remember to examine the beneficiary designations on any items that you own that pass directly to inheritors. Some common types of documents that utilize beneficiary designations include life insurance policies, bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement plans. If you’re interested in removing a former spouse as a beneficiary and appointing someone else, doing so often requires completing a new beneficiary assignment 


Power of Attorney and Advance Directives


People often rely on power of attorney documents to name someone who is authorized to act on the other’s behalf. Power of attorney documents are critical estate planning tools that allow a person to plan for possible incapacitation. If the person you name is a former spouse, however, you should reevaluate this appointment. Financial power of attorney documents grant the authority to address your financial matters, while medical power of attorney someone the authority to handle your health care matters. Besides revoke the old advance directive, you should also make sure to create a new one as well as inform healthcare providers about this update and provide copies of the new directive to both health care agents and providers.


Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer


Deciding when to revise your estate plan and how to update it so that wishes will be fulfilled can be challenging. One of the best things that you can do in such a situation is to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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