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Estate Planning for Divorced Families

If you’re divorced, you probably made sure your divorce agreement includes all the major financial aspects of property division, child support, and alimony. Now it’s time for the next step: updating your estate plan.

Estate planning for divorced families involves unique challenges, and any mistake or oversight could have far-reaching legal consequences. Learn what you should do to secure your estate after a divorce.

How Divorce Impacts Your Estate Plan

If you drew up an estate plan while married, chances are that this plan closely involved your now-ex-spouse. You may have named your surviving spouse as the sole beneficiary of retirement accounts or stipulated that beneficiaries may only collect living trust funds after both spouses die. Your ex’s name may have appeared on powers of attorney and/or advance healthcare directives as your chosen representative.

Now it’s time to overhaul your entire estate plan to ensure it fits your new family situation. Although the Commonwealth of Virginia automatically revokes any testament in favor of an ex-spouse or the appointment of an ex-spouse as an executor, it’s crucial to draft new estate plan documents that reflect your wishes regarding beneficiaries, estate executorship, guardians for minor children, and health care proxy.

Estate Planning for Divorced Families: Actions to Take

After your divorce, you should:

  • Remove your spouse as a beneficiary from your will, investment and retirement accounts, payable-on-death bank accounts, insurance policies, annuities, and any other financial designation
  • Revoke any former estate plan you made jointly with your ex
  • Assign a suitable guardian to your minor children, if any
  • Modify any existing health directive, living will, or power of attorney
  • Consult an estate planning attorney about securing your minor children’s inheritance in case they inherit while in your ex’s custody

Why You Need an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

You should consult an experienced Central Virginia estate attorney to ensure your new estate plan corresponds with your current wishes. An estate lawyer can:

  • Revise your current estate plan and suggest which changes you should make following your divorce
  • Make sure your ex doesn’t appear as a beneficiary anywhere in your will, trusts, retirement accounts, or insurance policies and can make no claim on your estate
  • Advise you on choosing trusted persons as an estate executor, co-trustee, or health care proxy
  • If necessary, help you protect your minor children’s estate from your ex in case you pass before they reach 18

It’s best to update your estate plan as soon as possible—even if the family court hasn’t finalized your divorce yet. Consult an estate planning lawyer to learn about your estate planning options during and after the divorce.

Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel: Protecting Your Central Virginia Estate After Divorce

At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, we provide comprehensive estate planning for divorced families. Our dedicated legal team can help you preserve financial stability and protect your estate after divorce in Central Virginia. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.