Should You Revise Your Estate Plan After Your Spouse Dies? In the days and weeks following your spouse’s death, wills, trusts, directives, powers of attorney, and other estate-planning considerations are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind.
However, when you are ready, you should set some time aside to review, and potentially update, your estate plan. Here’s why:
You May Need to Change Your Beneficiaries
When you initially took out your life insurance policy or set up your retirement account, you likely listed your spouse as your beneficiary. In doing so, you ensure that all funds would pass to them in the event of your death.
Since they can no longer inherit your assets, you may wish to choose a new beneficiary for your accounts.
Your Financial Situation May Have Changed
If your spouse’s death has had a negative impact on your finances, you may wish to review your future plans. In particular, you might need to pull some of your assets out of your revocable trust or reduce your charitable contributions.
Similarly, if you received a large life insurance payout or inherited a business after your spouse’s passing, you may want to adjust your estate plan to ensure those assets are protected.
You May Need to Choose a New Guardian
If you and your spouse had children together, you may have signed a will or a guardianship plan that granted them full custody in the event of your death or incapacitation.
Your partner’s death will, unfortunately, necessitate a change in those plans. You’ll likely need to name a new person as the guardian of your children.
You May Want to Update Your Personal Wishes
It is common for people to change their end-of-life preferences after their long-term partner dies. If this has happened to you, you should take some time to update your estate plan accordingly.
The Death of a Spouse: Additional Considerations
In the aftermath of your spouse’s passing, your estate plan is not the only matter that will require your attention. You may also need to:
- Address their outstanding debts
- Check your eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits
- Review and update your health insurance coverage
- File your spouse’s final income tax return, and
- Close or memorialize your partner’s digital accounts
Though these tasks typically do not need to be completed immediately after your partner passes away, it is generally advisable to avoid putting them off for too long.
Your Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney in San Diego
Do you need help navigating the practical implications of your loved one’s passing? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at the Semanchik Law Group. We are experts in California estate planning law, and we would be more than happy to help you review and update your plans.
To arrange a free consultation with a member of our skilled legal team, all you need to do is give us a quick call at (619) 535-1811 or send us a short message online. We look forward to hearing from you.