After a divorce, your will and estate plan are probably not the first things on your to-do list. Making the appropriate changes to the plan can be an essential action that provides the peace of mind in knowing your future wishes will be carried out to the letter.
How a Divorce Impacts Your Estate Plan
Married people typically tend to leave their property, assets, and other valuables to their spouse and children from the marriage. But after a divorce, many individuals no longer want that pre-established plan to remain unchanged. Some may wish to merely reduce their ex-partner’s inheritance. Others choose to unname their exes as beneficiaries and direct more assets to the children.
If you do not alter your plan, your ex could receive some of your assets in a way that you did not originally intend. Even if laws dictate that a divorce voids gifts to an ex-spouse made in a will signed before the marriage dissolution, other estate planning devices may still apply. For instance, you might have named your ex as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a trust. The only way your ex is by changing the beneficiary designation.
Updating and Changing Your Estate Plan
Once you’ve decided that changes to your estate plan due to divorce are in order, seek out the legal advice of an experienced attorney. An estate planning lawyer can review your plan and point out which parts need to be modified. Generally, putting these changes in effect means signing a new will and other documents. If you have any retirement accounts, powers of attorney, or other structures in place, those documents may need changes as well.
As you consider enacting the new estate plan, you will need to think about how to redistribute money that might have gone to your spouse if the marriage hadn’t ended in divorce. Perhaps you would instead give funds to a charity or save more of them for your children’s’ college tuition. Through estate planning devices such as life insurance, 529 plans, and trusts, your estate planning attorney can help you accomplish your new goals.
It’s helpful to keep in mind that many changes occur in the course of your life. You should update your estate plan after any significant life changes that impact where your hard-earned assets will go once you’ve passed on. For example, you might remarry, relocate to a different state or country, have additional children, inherit money, or lose a family member. All of these are good reasons to review your plan for potential updates and changes.
Get Help Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce
Dealing with a divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming time. While there is much to consider and decide, taking action regarding your estate plan before and during your divorce can give you and your heirs financial protection while eliminating unexpected complications.
An estate planning attorney can point out what options are right for you, helping to secure everything you’ve worked for and accomplished in your life. To begin your estate planning today, contact an estate planning attorney at Yee Law Group to set up your free estate plan evaluation.