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What happens to my estate plan after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2021 | Firm News

Planning your estate while married looks very different than when you are single. After you divorce, revising your estate plan should rank high in things you need to change.

What is so important about changing your last wishes after divorce? Since the terms of your life have changed, you need to focus on how you want your affairs handled when you die. Take a look at some of the elements to consider when revising your estate plan after divorce.

Changing your heirs and executor

It is typical for spouses to appoint the survivor as heir and executor of the will. While there are things you can do as a married person to ensure people get what you want them to have, for the most part, your spouse is in charge of carrying it out. After a divorce, it is unlikely that you wish that your former spouse have that kind of control over your assets and possessions.

Choosing a new power of attorney

When planning your estate, you also may have taken measures to care for yourself in your final days. A power of attorney document grants someone else complete control over your finances, and care decisions should you become unfit to do so. In a joint estate plan, spouses often become the designated power of attorney for the other.

Designating new beneficiaries

You should revisit beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement accounts. Divorce does not automatically stop a former spouse from getting the money from these accounts when you die. Unless your divorce decree specifies a timeframe for keeping your ex as a beneficiary on one or more of these accounts, you should take immediate steps to change it.

Maintain control over your estate by making the necessary revisions after divorce.