Updating Your Estate Plan around Divorce

Deciding to get divorced presents several considerations. While things like what will happen to your children as well as where you will live are likely at the front of your mind, estate planning is likely something that you have not yet begun to consider. 


It is a good idea to both review and update your estate plan around any changes in your situation. This includes changes in finances and divorce, but also major life events like divorce. To make sure that you revise your estate plan, this article reviews just a few of the most reasons why doing so is important. 


# 1 – Divorce Takes Time


As much as people going through the process want it to go quickly, divorce often takes months and sometimes even years. If something happens to you during this time, your estate planning will likely result in a benefit to your former spouse. If you are not okay with this happening, it is critical to promptly revise your estate plan.


# 2 – Your Estate Plan Likely No Longer Reflects Your Wishes


New York state law provides that a divorce automatically revokes a beneficiary designation to a spouse provided the divorce decree does not state differently. This means that any alternate beneficiaries in your estate plan will now be the parties who are designated to receive. If you are not okay with your assets transferring in this manner, it is time to revise your estate plan. 


# 3 – Consider What Other Relationships Will Change


Like it or not, divorce changes the relationships that we have with many of our friends and family members. After the changes accompanying a divorce, it is a good idea to consider who you trust and who no longer deserves your trust. Consider whether you need to change designations for any of the following estate planning roles:


  • Personal representatives, who will administer your estate after your death
  • Trustees who will manage assets placed within trusts
  • Individuals who will receive the power of attorney to make financial and health decisions


Not only should you make sure to update these estate planning documents, but you should also make sure that anyone you appoint is aware of their new role.


# 4 – Consider the Future


While estate planning, it is a good idea to consider what would happen if you passed away after your divorce without updating your estate plan. Not only is there a chance that your ex might receive assets that you would rather go to someone else, but your loved ones might even end up in court arguing about what you intended to happen to your estate. Ultimately, we write estate plans for our loved ones. 


The best way to avoid undue complications for friends and family after your death is to make sure you create an estate plan.


Speak with a Seasoned Estate Planning Lawyer


It can be possible to anticipate all of the changes that divorce will cause in your life. As a result, to fully prepare for what lies ahead, it is often a good idea to retain the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney. Contact Ettinger Estate Planning  today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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