How Divorce Can Affect Estate Planning

When you’re excitedly preparing to stand before your loved ones and say your wedding vows, the last thing on your mind is divorce. Unfortunately, nearly 40-50% of married couples in the United States end up divorcing eventually. Aside from the emotional strain, this may cause financial fallout and complicate Estate Planning. Once your divorce is finalized it should bring an end to you and your spouse’s legal issues and financial disputes. However, you’ll also need to revise your estate plan. 

What is estate planning?

Your estate includes anything you own including your car, home, checking and savings accounts, life insurance, and other personal property. Your estate plan dictates who will take ownership of these things in the event of your death. 

Why you should change your estate plan after a divorce?

Usually, when married couples draw up a will they leave the majority of their money and possessions to their spouse. They also typically carry medical power of attorney. After a tumultuous divorce, you likely don’t want your former spouse to have so much power over your life or to benefit from your death.

What documents should you review?

If you already started estate planning with your former spouse they may be listed on many key documents. They could be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, retirement account, or “payable upon death” bank account. It’s important to review your power of attorney, advance directive, wills, trusts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies.

How an attorney can help

Revoke and rewrite your will– Once you tear up your old will the attorneys at Davis, Ermis, and Roberts can write a new one for you. During this process, you should reassess who you want to leave property to, rename an executor, and name a guardian for children under 18. 

Update beneficiary designations– This part of the will disperses other assets to chosen beneficiaries. It will include life insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, pay-on-death bank accounts, and transfer-on-death brokerage accounts. 

Nominate New Powers of Attorney– You will need to select a medical power of attorney to make your medical decisions. You will also need a financial power of attorney to make your financial decisions if you’re unable. You should also name an executor of the will to manage your affairs following your death.  

Davis, Ermis, and Roberts Estate Planning

After divorce stress and emotions are running at an all-time high. The last thing you need to worry about is dissecting the complexities of estate planning on your own. The legal office of Davis, Ermis, and Roberts can help you manage the process and ensure that you and your family will be taken care of. All of our attorneys are experts in estate planning and can answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and we can provide you with more information about the next steps. We would be honored to help you through the divorce process, and continue providing our expertise until all matters are resolved.