Estate Planning During & After Divorce
Estate Planning During a Divorce
There are several important steps to take during a divorce to make sure you and your assets are protected. Until your divorce is final, you and your spouse are considered legally married - even if a petition for divorce has been filed - for purposes of inheritance. This means that if you die while your divorce is pending, your spouse will likely inherit all of your assets, either under the terms of your existing estate plan or under state law if you do not have an estate plan.
This is likely not the result you want. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take while your divorce is pending (which can often last 6-12 months), while you are separated, or before you file for divorce, to protect you and your assets. These steps include removing your spouse a beneficiary under your will or trust, replacing your spouse as your agent on any powers of attorney you have created, and removing your spouse (if permissible) from your beneficiary designations on your life and retirement plans.
To ready my recent blog post on estate planning during a divorce, click here.
Estate Planning After a Divorce
If you are newly divorced, it’s important to make sure that your estate planning documents are updated to reflect your new situation. If you are like most people, if you did an estate plan while you were married, you most likely left everything to your spouse—probably not the result you want now.
After a divorce, you need to make sure your ex-spouse is removed from making any financial or health care decisions for you. You also want to make sure your assets are properly designated to go to beneficiaries other than your ex-spouse.
If you have minor children, you should also consider whether you want your ex-spouse in control of any money your children inherit from you. If you don’t want your ex-spouse in control of these funds, it’s critical to put in place an estate plan that guarantees this does not happen.
To read my recent blog post on estate planning after a divorce, click here.
For more information download "The Post-Divorce Guide to Estate Planning"