Updating your estate plan after a divorce

Individuals who get a divorce often find that they have to make a nearly countless array of changes to their lives. One such example is the need to update their estate plan. This is almost always necessary, as most estate’s have a spouse as a primary beneficiary, and failure to update a plan may mean that a former spouse is in charge of someone’s affairs in the unlikely event of incapacitation, or is the primary beneficiary in the event of that person’s death. Every state, including Delaware, has laws that allow for such an update.

What documents you will need to update

When it comes to Wills & Estates, you will need to update a variety of documents or create new ones. Your attorney might be able to help you update these documents.
The documents you will need to update include:

  • Will: Thankfully, in most states, a divorce will nullify the portion of your will that allows your finances to go to your ex-spouse. However, you will need to update your will in order to name new heirs.
  • A Trust: Trusts generally do not go to a spouse, but the spouse may have control over the trust. As such, this will need to be updated. Furthermore, laws do not typically revoke control of a trust in the event of a divorce, so this is an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately.
  • Power of Attorney: This is usually revoked in the event of a divorce, but you will need to name someone else to act as your power of attorney in the event of your incapacitation.
  • Living Will: Again, this depends on the state in which you file for divorce, but you will need to appoint someone else to make your healthcare decisions for you.

Other documents include pension beneficiaries, life insurance beneficiaries, and more. Fortunately, these issues are not uncommon, and you should be able to sort them out with the assistance of a trained professional.