Even following the simplest and most amicable of divorces, the last thing most individuals want to think about is dealing with even more legal matters. Still, too few people remember to update their estate plan following their divorce—leading to needless complications for their estate and loved ones following their death.
While California law offers some protections in case there is a post-divorce discrepancy found in a deceased's will, it is still crucial to thoroughly re-examine your plan when you are no longer married to your ex-spouse.
Key elements of your estate plan that should be changed include:
- Your beneficiaries. It's customary for an entirety of an estate to be passed to a surviving spouse in the event of a death. A divorce in California will severe this kind of inheritance, but in doing so, it is also important to redistribute your estate accordingly. Also important for those anticipating a divorce: talk to your Sacramento estate planning attorney about how to protect your estate in case something happens to you before your divorce is finalized.
- Your powers of attorney. With you ex-spouse out of the picture, it is critical to select new people to serve as your powers of attorney. In many cases, this will be two people: one for financial decisions and one for healthcare decisions. This does not have to wait for the completion of the divorce and can occur while the divorce is ongoing.
- Additional beneficiary designations. If you have other beneficiary measures in place, such as life insurance policies, transfer-on-death brokerage accounts, pay-on-death bank accounts, or other measures, then these need to be updated, as well. Often, these designations are not protected by state law and need to be adjusted in a timely manner to name new beneficiaries.
Are you facing a divorce? Have just completed one? Then we invite you to contact us at The Law Offices of Jack S. Johal. Our Sacramento estate planning lawyer has more than three decades of experience in this practice area and has helped countless clients secure peace of mind concerning their estate plan goals.
The solutions you need are just a phone call away. Call us at (916) 229-8027 today.