Estate planning documents to revisit when you divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is a significant life event that necessitates more than just emotional adjustments. It also requires reassessing various aspects of your life, including your estate plan.

Neglecting to revise your estate plan after a divorce can lead to unintended consequences, potentially leaving your assets in the wrong hands. It is necessary to revisit and make necessary adjustments to your estate plan to ensure it aligns with your current wishes and circumstances.

Updating beneficiaries

Updating beneficiary designations is an important step, post-divorce. Life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other financial instruments often require named beneficiaries. Failing to update these designations can result in assets going to an ex-spouse, contrary to your intentions. Regularly reviewing and modifying beneficiary information ensures that your assets end up in the hands you intend.

Naming guardians for minor children

If you have minor children and named a guardian in your will, a divorce may necessitate a reconsideration of this decision. Custody arrangements change and ensuring that the designated guardian aligns with the current legal and personal circumstances is important. Keeping this aspect of your estate plan up-to-date helps provide clarity and security for the well-being of your children. CNBC notes that about 67% of Americans do not have wills at all. Those without wills may need to draft them and designate guardians within them after a divorce to protect the interests of their children.

Distributing property and assets

Divorce often involves the division of marital property. This can impact your overall estate. Reassessing your assets, including real estate, investments and personal property, is key. Updating your estate plan to reflect changes in ownership and distribution ensures that your wishes align with the post-divorce reality.

Addressing changes in relationships

A divorce may lead to changes in relationships and dynamics. Revisit your health care directives and power of attorney documents to ensure the designated individuals align with your current relationships and support network. Making these adjustments provides clarity. It also helps avoid potential conflicts in the event of a medical emergency.

In the aftermath of a divorce, taking the time to revisit and revise your estate plan helps provide peace of mind for the future. It also makes things easier on your loved ones after your passing.