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How divorce could change your estate plan

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Blog, Divorce, Estate Planning & Administration |

Any estate planning lawyer would advise you that you need to update your plan upon major life events. A Pennsylvania divorce is one of those events, and there are certain estate planning steps that you should take when your marriage is ending.

Update beneficiaries as necessary

One of the most important things that you need to do is update your beneficiaries on the accounts that require them. Your spouse could be your beneficiary on things like your life insurance and retirement accounts, and they will remain that way until you change it. In addition, you may have trusts established that include your ex-spouse, and these terms need to be amended as well. Look through any existing documents that include a spouse and make sure to update them. Take the time to mentally catalog every arrangement that you have that could possibly include your spouse.

Some things may need to wait until after the divorce

In addition, you should also amend things such as your will and powers of attorney to write your spouse out of them. However, you need to be careful about when you do this. There are certain things that you cannot change while the divorce is pending. For example, your ex-spouse has an interest in your retirement account, and that is divided during the divorce. You may also have a prenuptial agreement that governs the terms of the divorce, and you may not be able to completely write your ex-spouse out of everything. Nonetheless, this is something that you need to think about while the divorce is pending.

You should visit an estate planning and administration attorney either during or after the divorce to amend your plan. If you do not have a plan, starting over after a divorce is a perfect time to get one in place. Divorce changes things dramatically, and you need to consider the impact on your future. An attorney with a background in divorce law and estate planning could be particularly helpful.