If you are going through or recently finalized a divorce, you’ve probably seen your share of paperwork and are ready to put the entire exhausting ordeal behind you. However, before you embark on your new life there is one more step you should consider: updating your estate plan.
Typically, your spouse is the major beneficiary in your will or trusts when you die. Unless your divorce was unusually amicable, you probably don’t want that to be the case after you split. You may choose instead to leave certain assets to your children, to another relative, a close friend or even a charitable organization that you support. Updating your estate plan is the best way to make sure your wishes are followed.
Your estate plan is also your chance to express your desires about care for your children. This may include setting up a trust for them or, if you are the custodial parent, naming a guardian to take care of them.
While many people view estate planning as a chore and breathe a sigh of relief when their documents are safely drafted and signed, it is not wise to lock up your will and trust and never look at them again. Life changes, so how you administer your assets after death may need to change as well.
Divorce is not the only major life event that may justify a revamp of your estate plan. Any event that significantly changes your personal or financial situation – such as a marriage, the death of a relative or beneficiary, the purchase of substantial property like a house, or a change in health may all be good times to take a second look.
Source: Law & Daily Life, “Changing Your Will After a Divorce,” Deanne Katz, March 1, 2013