How divorce impacts estate planning

Dividing Assets Divorce

When going through a divorce, there seems to be a never-ending list of tasks that have to be done. One important step is altering your estate plan. Often times, a person’s estate plan includes their significant other. During and after a divorce, there are a number of things that would need to be changed in order to remove your significant other from these important documents.

The first step is to learn what you can and cannot change. There are certain factors of your estate that you will not be able to alter during a divorce. After the divorce is final, these factors are likely able to be changed. Updating a health care proxy, that usually states your spouse can make medical decisions for you, is another step to change as soon as a divorce process begins.

You must also update your will and determine what, if anything, to leave your spouse. If allowed by the state, you should draft a brand new will. You likely do not want your soon to be ex-spouse in charge of your estate. You also have an option to write an alternate guardian for your minor children. When deciding what to leave your spouse, many states do not allow you to completely disinherit your spouse, even after divorce. In many cases, individuals will only leave what your spouse is entitled to under your state’s laws.

If you and your spouse have a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, your divorce attorney should have already reviewed it with you. Your new estate plan must be in accordance with this document. Be sure to note what your spouse is entitled to in the case of your death and update your will accordingly.

Finally, after the divorce is finalized, be sure to go back and revisit all of these documents for a final time. There will likely be updates needed after the finalized divorce. Be sure to check over the beneficiary designations. In many cases, this is not updated and the ex-spouse is still entitled to inherit all of one’s assets.

Seeking out the proper counsel is most important in a divorce. Hiring a trusted and experienced attorney will ensure your unique case is handled in the best way possible. Divorce is never easy, but having an attorney you trust on your team will help simplify the process.

The attorneys at Sadek and Cooper Law Offices have handled hundreds of divorces in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties of Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks, and Chester. We are also licensed in the State of New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at 215-545-0008.

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