Should I Be Updating My Estate Plan After a Divorce?

In the aftermath of a divorce, the last thing you want to do is sit down and deal with even more paperwork. However, once the dust settles and you begin to recover emotionally, it is important to take some time to revisit your estate plan. Should you fail to do so, your former spouse might retain powers or inherit property you don’t want them to have.

It is particularly vital to review the following elements of your estate plan:

Your Last Will and Testament

Under California law, divorce typically revokes the following provisions of a will:

  • The appointment of property to a former spouse
  • The conference of special powers to a former spouse, and
  • The nomination of a former spouse as a conservator, executor, guardian, or trustee

However, it’s generally unwise to rely on this law as part of your estate plan. Doing so can cause unnecessary confusion for your loved ones after your death.

It is usually better to sit down with a skilled California estate planning attorney to revoke your old will and write a new one from scratch.

Your Power-of-Attorneys

During the course of your marriage, you may have given your former spouse medical or durable power of attorney. If so, you will need to decide whether you want them to retain that power.

If you would like to give power of attorney to another trusted friend or relative, you should speak with a San Diego family lawyer and have new paperwork drafted as quickly as possible.

Indeed, even if you want your ex-spouse to continue to have power of attorney, it is a good idea to reiterate your wishes by signing new documents. If you fail to do so, a court may rule that the divorce nullified the previous paperwork.

Your Insurance Policies and Financial Accounts

Your ex-spouse is most likely listed as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, bank accounts, 401(k)s, and IRAs. If you do not want them to inherit your financial assets after you die, you will need to remove them and/or replace them with another person.

Removing an ex-spouse as a beneficiary is usually a fairly straightforward process. Most banks and financial institutions will allow you to do so online.

However, if your bank makes the process of removing a beneficiary unnecessarily difficult, your attorney can write to them on your behalf.

A San Diego Family Lawyer You Can Count On

Do you need an experienced California estate planning attorney to help you rewrite your will or name a new beneficiary on your bank account? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at the Semanchik Law Group. We’ve been helping San Diegans with their legal issues for years, and we are ready to go to work for you!

To set up a consultation with a member of our team, all you need to do is fill out our short online contact form or give us a call at (619) 535-1811. We look forward to hearing from you!