Why should I change my estate plan after divorce?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Family Law |

With so much involved in dissolving a marriage, many people let other important issues fall by the wayside. Take estate planning, for instance. There are many reasons to revisit your estate plan after divorce and failure to do so could end up causing massive strife throughout your family. Here are a few estate planning topics to consider once your divorce has been finalized.

Your ex could have power over your estate after you are gone

It is common for couples to name the other spouse as will executor or trustee. The logic goes that your spouse knows you and your estate best, and as a result, is best suited to carry out all tasks involved. However, your feelings are bound to change after your divorce takes place. Not removing your ex from estate planning documents provides them control over important decisions. It could also impact your new spouse or any subsequent children you might have.

Other documents could supersede your will

While it is a good start, changing your will is not enough after divorce. For example, if you change the language in your will but fail to update your beneficiary designations, your estate plan will not be much help in certain areas. Beneficiary designations are associated with life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Whoever is listed as a beneficiary on these documents at the time of death will receive the proceeds, regardless of your marital status.

Your ex will have a say in healthcare decisions

Estate plans do more than just disperse your assets to the rest of your family. They also ensure your healthcare wishes are respected when it comes to end of life medical care. Naming a healthcare proxy ensures you have a person to advocate on your behalf when you are no longer able to. While some people are comfortable leaving their ex-spouse in the role, it is worth reviewing if you have concerns.