Estate Planning After a Divorce

When you first started your family, it may have seemed far in the distant future to start thinking about estate planning. However, once your divorce occurs, it is never too late to make sure everything is prepared for your family’s financial health. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can affect how a divorce might affect your estimated tax liabilities. Here are some tips to help you plan your estate after a divorce.

Update Estate Planning Documents

The trust or will that you have created with your ex is invalid upon divorce. After your divorce decree is finalized, it’s important to make sure you update it:

  • Your revocable trust or will: Many people choose to have their ex removed as successor trustee/executor and make them a beneficiary of the estate.
  • Your Advance Health Care Directive: If you don’t want your ex to make end-of-life decisions for you or consult with your doctor regarding your medical care, a new Advance Directive will be necessary.
  • Your Durable Power of Attorney: If you don’t want your ex to make financial decisions for you or have access to your finances, you will need a new Durable Power of Attorney that appoints new representatives.

An Attorney Representing You

Is it possible to continue using the same estate planning lawyer you used before getting divorced? Let’s suppose you have created an estate plan with your spouse. If your ex-spouse agrees to sign a waiver, you can still hire the same attorney for your separate estate plan after a divorce. You will need new legal representation if your ex refuses to sign the waiver.

You can either keep the same attorney or hire a new one. However, you should give a copy to your estate planner. This document will detail your legal obligations to your ex-spouse upon your death.

You must adhere to all obligations, including the requirement to keep a life insurance policy. Failure to comply with these obligations could lead to litigation after your death. These legal obligations can be reviewed with your divorce or estate planning attorney.

This article was written by Alla Tenina. Alla is a top Orange County estate planning attorney, and the founder of Tenina Law. She has experience in bankruptcies, real estate planning, and complex tax matters. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the ABA and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.