Going through a divorce is never easy, and it can take a major toll on your mental and emotional health. However, despite all of the turmoil that’s happening, you should take the time to update your estate plan immediately. Is it necessary to make these timely changes? Absolutely. Allow our estate planning attorneys in San Diego to explain the reasons why you need to update your estate plan:
Reason #1 – Updating Your Beneficiaries
Before the divorce, your spouse was likely the primary beneficiary of your retirement fund, life insurance policy, and other assets that are in your name. Now is the time to change those designations and update your estate plan. For example, you can establish a new living trust that names your children as the main beneficiary and have a trusted third person (not your ex) control the funds for the kids until they’re a certain age. The trust becomes the beneficiary of all of these policies and accounts so that your wishes are all funneled through and controlled by the Trust. This will require you to revise and fill out the necessary legal documents to implement those changes.
Reason #2 – Updating Your Powers of Attorney
The power of attorney authorizes someone (typically a close family member) to make significant financial decisions on your behalf. This includes the transfer of funds between bank accounts and the approval to sell property. If you designated your former spouse as the primary agent with power of attorney over your estate, you should immediately update your plan. Keep in mind that you can make these changes even while your divorce is still pending.
Reason #3 – Updating Your Healthcare Directives
In your estate plan, you likely entrusted your former spouse to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in situations where you were incapacitated. However, while finalizing your divorce, you can revoke your existing healthcare directive and draft legal documents naming a new person as your trusted agent. You should also notify your healthcare provider about these changes in advance.
Reason #4 – Updating Your Last Will & Testament and Living Trust
Your Last Will & Testament ultimately designates the people who will receive your assets after you pass away and determine how they will receive them, often by pouring assets into an existing Living Trust. After your divorce, you will likely make substantial changes to your will and trust together, including amendments that prevent your former spouse from contesting anything.
In a situation such as this, our estate planning attorneys often advise that you nullify your previous will and trust and create a new one altogether. An experienced estate and trust attorney in San Diego can review your divorce settlement and make the necessary corrections to your estate plan. Ultimately, you want to prevent any challenges to your Last Will & Testament or Living Trust, which would otherwise result in probate proceedings.
Life After Your Divorce
We understand that a divorce can cause plenty of stress and turmoil for your family, but you ultimately want to protect yourself and your loved ones. You will need to go through all of your estate planning documents and make the necessary corrections. You must also account for minor children from your former spouse as well as potential beneficiaries in the future. Remember, you may find yourself entering marriage again someday.
Here at Jenkins & Jenkins, Estate Planning Attorneys, we provide reliable legal services for Californians who need to make changes to their estate plan. A divorce will force you to reconsider everything, which is why you need to hire an expert to help guide you through the process. Schedule an appointment with us today and we can begin revising/drawing up all of the necessary legal documents.
Testimonial from Shaun, Satisfied Estate Planning Client
For your estate planning, living trust and/or probate needs, look no further. Due to the nature of my work, I’ve been wanting to setup a Trust and Will but have been procrastinating on it. Then out of the blue, I was tagged to leave for emergency military deployment with a very short departure timeline. J&J was referred to me by a friend, so I immediately contacted them and told them my situation. They were accommodating and professional. Within a week my documents were all processed and complete. God forbid something happens to me but now I can be worry free about my estate being nickel and dime’d as everything will go to my family probate free. If you go with J&J you will not regret it.