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Getting divorced? You probably need to change your estate plan

| May 28, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Many different aspects of your life change when you will go through a divorce. Between moving somewhere new, opening new bank accounts and notifying all of your social contacts, certain other important steps could fall through the cracks.

Many people overlook the importance of revisiting their estate plan during a divorce. The chances are very good that the terms you originally set in those documents benefit and rely on your spouse. For your protection and peace of mind, there are certain changes you will want to make.

Remove your spouse from all necessary documents

You probably left certain assets to your spouse in your will. You may even have given them access to business or separate assets via a power of attorney if anything were to incapacitate you. People sometimes also name their spouse as beneficiary or trustee in a trust.

Any place where are you give your spouse either assets or decision-making authority will likely require revisions so that you know someone who has your best interests at heart would be the one making those decisions. You may want to change the people who will inherit your most prized assets.

You can take steps to protect your kids as well

A divorce decreases the likelihood of both you and your spouse will die at the same time. That means there is potentially less risk for your children to wind up in the care of a guardian. You may want to name a new guardian in your will, but that’s a decision that will need to be made with your spouse.

You will also need to think about whether or not you want to leave your children’s inheritance accessible by your ex. A standard inheritance could wind up in the control of the other parent if you were to die while your children are still minors. Putting their inheritance into a trust can ensure that no one else can touch it until they become adults.

The timing of these changes is crucial. You may need to wait until the divorce is final to make some of them. It’s essential to discuss any changes to your estate plan with your family law attorney as well as your estate planning attorney.