5 Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update When Getting a Divorce

5 Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update When Getting a Divorce

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Planning your estate does not only make provision for the proper management of your estate, it also makes sure that your love one’s get to enjoy all that you labored for during your life time.

You only include the people you love in your will as beneficiaries of your estate. Your spouse, children, parents etc. are all included.

As at the time you planned your will, your ex-spouse was among the people whom you named as beneficiaries to inherit your estate when you are no more. But things change, who would predict a divorce? But if it happens, it means you will need to update your estate plan in other to make changes in accordance with the state of things. Documents which require update include

Last will and testament

Probably back then when you were writing your will, your ex-spouse was the main beneficiary. With this turn of events, I guess you are left with no choice rather than to update your will.

You might want to reduce what goes to your ex-spouse if you still want them to get anything from you. It is also possible that you might have named a spouse as your executor. You should also consider changing this role because an executor should be someone you trust to handle your estate and finance on your behalf. I guess your ex-spouse doesn’t fit into that shoe right now. Having said this, remember to update your last will and testament after a divorce.

Durable power of attorney

This is another estate planning document which will require a review and update after a divorce. A durable power of attorney is a legal document where you name a person who will be in charge of various aspect of your life in the event of incapacitation.

A financial power of attorney is someone you name that will be in charge of the decision making regarding your finance when you are probably not able to make such decisions yourself. The role of the person can sell, buy, invest etc. all on your behalf. This isn’t a role you would want your former spouse to play.

A health care proxy is a similar document to a financial power of attorney. In this case, the person will be responsible for deciding matters concerning your health. It is a very normal thing for someone to name their spouse for this role. But do you still want your ex-spouse to be this person for you when the time comes? If not then you should update your estate plan document after a divorce.


A trust is a relationship between a trustor and a trustee in which the trustor gives the trustee legal right to hold title for a property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary).

A trust can be set up for various reasons. It could be for the purpose of having a seamless transfer of assets. Could be for the avoidance of probate, could be for avoidance of tax.

Having your ex-spouse named as a beneficiary of your trust means when you die, she is entitled to your trust. So it is important you update this document in the case of a divorce, especially when it is a revocable trust.

Health care proxy

This gives a named person the right to make medical decisions for you in the case of incapacitation. If your named health care proxy is your ex-spouse, you might want to reconsider this as she either won’t be interested anymore or you won’t trust her enough for that role. If you eventually decide to change it then there is the need to update your estate plan.

Life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries

These accounts go to whoever to you named as a beneficiary. These accounts are not subject to your will and trust so if after a divorce you don’t want them to go to your ex-spouse, you will have to update them.

Divorce is not a sign of love or trust. Going through with a divorce means you want to break every tie you have with a person. In order to avoid someone you don’t trust enough or love to be in charge of your estate when you die, you have to update these documents.

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DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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