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A Divorce Often Necessitates Several Changes to An Estate Plan

June 26, 2018

The divorce process is often emotionally overwhelming. It is during this time that people must address multiple issues at once as their lives undergo major changes. New York residents who are in the process of divorcing may wish to review estate plans in order to ensure that one’s final wishes reflect those life changes.

Setting aside the time to review estate plans will pay dividends and bring peace of mind in the long run. When one draws up these plans, it is likely that a health care directive and a power of attorney were part of the documents included. Since it is likely that the former spouse was the one originally designated to make these types of vital decisions, selecting a more appropriate individual may be necessary.

State laws usually prohibit one from changing the beneficiaries on most retirement, 401(k) accounts and life insurance policies. However, one can review these plans and then make the necessary adjustments once the divorce is finalized. In addition, one may wish to review any wills or trusts and decide whether one wishes to disinherit the former spouse or leave only that which state laws require. Furthermore, if there are minor children and a trust has been set up for their needs, one may desire to select another individual to act as a trustee.

Lastly, in most circumstances, a former spouse would be the guardian of a couple’s children unless he or she proves to be unsuitable. In any event, an alternate guardian can be selected in the event one dies. In many situations, making the required changes to estate plans may trigger litigation efforts from a former partner. New York residents who are concerned about how an impending divorce will change one’s existing plans may benefit from seeking assistance from an experienced attorney.