Going through a divorce can be mentally and emotionally draining, so it’s understandable that updating your estate plan may not be a priority.
However, to ensure that assets are distributed according to your wishes, it’s crucial to update your estate plan after your divorce.
Review Your Current Estate Plan First
Before you start the process of updating your estate plan, review it with your attorney first to find out what you can and cannot change.
State laws may prevent you from making certain changes, and the terms of a prenuptial agreement will also influence what updates you can make.
You may come across some difficult decisions during the updating process, so it’s important to take your time thinking about what’s best for you and your loved ones.
And remember, an estate plan can be updated as often as needed, so you can always revisit it in the future to make changes.
3 Things to Update in Your Estate Plan After a Divorce
1. Your Will
If you don’t yet have a will, now’s a good time to create one. A will expresses your wishes regarding how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. You can also appoint guardianship of minor children through your will.
If you have a will and you named your ex-spouse as your will’s executor, after your divorce you can name someone else as the executor.
Whether you’re creating a will or updating a current one, work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal requirements and provide guidance on the tax implications of any changes you’re considering making.
2. Your Beneficiary Designations
Your beneficiaries are the people who will receive your assets upon your death. These assets may include your financial accounts, property, life insurance and/or possessions.
If your ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary of your assets and you no longer want them to be, you’ll need to update those designations. Consider both who you want to receive your assets and how you want them to be distributed.
Chapter 123 of the Estates Code of Texas law recognizes that if you’re divorced and you die, you’re unlikely to want your ex-spouse or their relatives to be beneficiaries. As a result, it automatically nullifies your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
That means if you didn’t get a chance to update your beneficiaries, your estate will go to your heirs. However, it’s still a good idea to update these designations to ensure that your exact wishes are carried out.
3. Your Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney give someone else the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapacitated.
If your ex is your current power of attorney, after divorce you can now name a different person in this role who you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
A divorce will dissolve your ex-spouse’s power of attorney designation, but you’ll still need to update this portion of your estate plan. You may even want to do this before the divorce is finalized.
Update Your Estate Plan With Our Attorneys in Fort Worth
Updating your estate plan post-divorce can be overwhelming, but The Schneider Law Firm, P.C. is here to help. Our experienced attorneys in Fort Worth, TX will guide you through the details, options and financial implications of any changes you’d like to make so you can feel confident about your estate plan and ensure that your wishes are carried out.