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Divorce and Your Estate Plan

published 3/31/2016

Probably the last thing anyone thinks about when they get a divorce is their estate plan. But it can be critically important to update your plan as soon as possible.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article failure to update beneficiaries can cause a variety of legal planning

The article points out that married partners who used the same planner together should individually seek out counsel to avoid any conflicts of interest. Legal experts also note there are a number of documents that can easily be revoked before a divorce, including health care proxies or financial powers of attorney.

It can be as simple as tearing up one set of documents and writing up a new set which explicitly states that earlier versions are invalid.

In many cases the next important items to update are beneficiaries for bank or retirement accounts or any other property that transfers upon death.

Once you have made changes keep an inventory to track of what you’ve done, in case you find something later and don’t remember if it was changed.

In some cases retirement accounts can become an issue in the divorce and it’s not unknown for an ex-spouse to remain a beneficiary as part of the settlement. But it’s important that you understand what will happen later in life.

Whether it’s a new will or a trust that needs to be updated the legal team here at Bixler & Moore is ready to help.

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