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Estate planning changes to consider if your divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2023 | Estate Planning

Your estate will change when you divorce. You may have sold items such as the house you shared with your spouse and divided other assets between you. You need to update your estate plan to reflect this so that should you die tomorrow, the executor will not get an out-of-date asset list or a will that promises people items you no longer own.

Prior to your divorce, many of your assets may have been bound for your spouse when you died. Or, if you had a stepchild, perhaps you intended to leave some items to them but no longer wish to. You need to ensure your will reflects your current wishes.

You also need to update your beneficiary designations

Beneficiary designations are available on certain financial items, including life insurance policies, 401k retirement accounts and some transfer-on-death accounts. Whoever you name will receive the contents when you die, regardless of whether your will says the item should go to someone else – the beneficiary designation takes preference. So you need to update them, as well as your will. 

You may want to change who fulfills legal roles for you

Perhaps you named your stepchild as executor. Maybe relations remain good, and you are both happy to leave it like that, but you’ll need to choose someone else if things are difficult because of your divorce from their parent. If you had your spouse down to fulfill roles such as health care power of attorney or legal power of attorney, you may again need to pick someone new.

There’s a lot to consider and understand when updating your estate plan after a divorce, which is why it is wise to get legal assistance.