It should be easy to see why you need to change your estate plan after a divorce. Most married people’s spouses play important roles in their estate plans, and a large portion of the estate is usually left to the spouse. After divorcing that spouse, most people obviously want to change their estate plans to exclude the ex-spouse or significantly reduce his or her inheritance.
However, many people do not think about changing their estate plans during their divorce. Getting a divorce in the United States can take a long time. There are statutory waiting periods. Sometimes contested custody and property issues need to be resolved before the divorce is final. What happens if you have filed for divorce and something happens to you? Do you want the person you are divorcing to be your Executor or Trustee. Do you want that person to be responsible for your health care or financial decisions? Most people will answer those questions in the negative.
Talk to an estate planning attorney when you are in the process of getting a divorce. There are somethings that you can change before the divorce is final. There are other things that you might not want to change until after the divorce. An attorney can help you decide.
The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.