Estate Planning for Divorce

Going through a divorce can feel very out of control at times.  So much in your life is changing that it is hard to keep track of it all.  And in the whirlwind of custody and financial decisions, the issue of estate planning is often overlooked.

And that can be a huge mistake.  You work so hard through the divorce process to preserve what you can.  But it could all be for nothing if your estate plan doesn’t protect the ground you gained during your divorce.

If you’re thinking about divorce, or you have actively started the divorce process, you almost certainly need to update your estate plan because your (soon to be ex-) spouse…

  • would probably be given control over any property you leave to your minor children if you pass away
  • would probably receive all of your property if you pass away before the divorce is final
  • may have access to your accounts if they are named as your agent on a power of attorney for property
  • is probably the beneficiary of your life insurance policies
  • is probably the beneficiary of your retirement accounts
  • would make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated

When you’re married, the answer to many estate planning questions is almost always “my spouse”.  Are your answers to those questions still the same?  If not, you may want to create a new estate plan.