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Do I need to update my estate plan during or after divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Property Division |

Ensuring your estate planning documents are up to date during or after a divorce is crucial. Understanding its significant impact on your financial and personal affairs and whether adjustments are necessary for your estate planning documents can have a significant impact, should you become incapacitated or pass away.

Estate planning documents

Wills, trusts and advanced directives serve as vital instruments in guaranteeing your wishes are respected and your assets are distributed according to your desires. These legal documents offer guidance and clarity for your loved ones during challenging times.

Divorce’s influence on estate planning

Upon filing for divorce in California, specific automatic changes affect your estate plan. First, your spouse’s rights under a will or trust are automatically revoked. Any designations of your spouse as executor or beneficiary become void. Nonetheless, California’s community property laws dictate asset division during divorce, which can necessitate adjustments to your estate plan to reflect altered ownership and wishes.

Updating your estate plan

Review your estate planning documents. Ensure they reflect your present wishes and account for divorce-related changes. As needed, revise your will. Amend your will to exclude your ex-spouse as executor or beneficiary. Consider appointing new executors and adjusting beneficiary designations accordingly.

If you have a living trust, modify it to remove your ex-spouse as trustee or beneficiary. Update successor trustee arrangements as needed.

And, revisit healthcare directives and powers of attorney. Consider appointing individuals other than your ex-spouse for medical decision-making.

Post-dissolution judgment considerations

Upon receipt of the dissolution judgment, you have accomplished a lot, but there is more to do. This finalizes the divorce proceedings, addresses asset division, spousal support, child custody matters, etc.

Following divorce finalization, revisit estate planning documents to reflect new circumstances. Review and adjust beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets. If you have minor children, appoint a guardian in case of incapacity or demise. In Riverside, California, proactive estate planning adjustments during or after divorce are essential to aligning your wishes with legal realities and safeguarding your financial and personal interests.



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