Updating Your Estate Plan After Separation/Divorce

Did you know that an essential part of getting a separation/divorce is estate planning? Yes, really! By having a new estate plan created during a separation/divorce, you can ensure your ex-partner is not a beneficiary of your estate. Plus, you can create a new plan that honors the next chapter of your life. When your separation/ is started, your next appointment should be with a Hampton Roads or Southside will and trust attorney.

At your initial meeting, be sure to bring your separation papers or divorce decree; this will give your lawyer a better understanding of any obligations you have to your ex or otherwise. You will need to consider the following changes to your estate:

  • Update and Change Your Powers of Attorney: Most married couples have their spouse listed as their power of attorney for financial decisions and as their healthcare agent for medical matters. After your separation/divorce, you will want to appoint someone else to these positions of authority.
  • Update your Will or Trust: A divorce does not automatically invalidate your old will or trust. You will need to update your documents to ensure that your soon to be ex can’t inherit from you.  You will also need to choose a new Executor or Trustee who can administer your estate if something happens to you.
  • Updating the Beneficiaries on Financial Accounts and Life Insurance: When financial accounts are created, a beneficiary is typically named, and most people have their spouse as their primary. During this process, use this time to update your accounts and remove your soon to be ex-spouse. Remember, the beneficiaries named on accounts supersede instructions in your will or trust!
  • Guardianship of Minor Children: Custody of your minor children is part of the separation/divorce decree, but that does not mean you cannot have a temporary guardian and backup guardian named if something happens to both you and your soon to be ex. This step is especially critical if your ex has had his or her parental rights terminated.
  • Consider Creating a Legacy Trust for Your Minor Children: Having a revocable trust created that has legacy planning included for your minor children ensures that the estate you are leaving behind will not be under the control of your ex if you pass away. This is also a great way to ensure your children inherit your assets, especially if you get married again.

If you have experienced a divorce and have not had your estate plan re-evaluated, please call (866) 603-5976 to set up a free consultation. We can help you protect your legacy as you head into this new season of your life.