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What estate plan changes arise after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Blog, Estate Planning |

Writing a will represents an important part of estate planning. Once signed, the legal document remains in effect until the testator decides to change it. And yes, someone can change a will under California law. Changes in either someone’s life or relationships affect decisions on estate plan documents. A divorce reflects a significant life change that might necessitate rewriting a will.

Changes to estate plans after a marriage dissolves

Although a divorce decree may divide property, the financial dealings and asset distributions might not end unless there are estate plan revisions. If an ex-spouse remains a joint holder on a checking account, the former spouse maintains the right to withdraw money. Similarly, the ex-spouse would also receive any money in any account where the former partner appears as a beneficiary. Changing beneficiary designations might become a necessary priority after divorcing.

Similarly, failing to change a will might result in an ex-spouse receiving assets after the testator passes away. Revising a will to reflect a new life situation could address the matter.

Other documents may require immediate attention and alterations. Leaving an ex-spouse as an agent representative on a power of attorney contract might prove disastrous. Updating power of attorney designations could become a top priority.

Further estate plan change considerations

Remarrying may necessitate revising a will. Besides making provisions for a new spouse, the testator might add the new spouse’s children from a previous relationship. Newborn children in the new marriage could factor into estate planning changes as well.

Other matters could require decisions, including ones related to life insurance or choosing a new executor of the estate. Delays in making appropriate changes could complicate a situation, so moving forward with new estate plan documents might be necessary.