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Have you updated your estate plan since your divorce?

Getting a divorce is a life-changing event. Though many people end their marriages every year, it can create considerable upheaval in any individual's life. You may know this firsthand since you recently went through a divorce yourself. Now, you may be wondering what other areas of your life you need to address in order to mitigate any negative repercussions of ending your marriage.

One aspect that certainly needs assessing is your estate plan. You may have created your plan with your former spouse in mind, and as a result, he or she could play important parts in your plan or possibly stand in line to obtain assets after your passing. More than likely, you do not want your former spouse to remain in those positions, so it is wise to review your estate plan and make changes where applicable.

What documents should you look at?

If you have a comprehensive estate plan, you may not feel sure where to start when it comes to removing your former spouse. If you know specific areas where you named your ex-spouse to an important role, you may want to start there. However, it is wise to go over the entirety of your plan to determine whether you may have missed a place referring to your former spouse or if you just want to make general changes. Some documents to start with could include:

  • Your trust: If you created a trust, it is common for law to deem any benefits for your ex-spouse invalid. Still, it is wise to make changes to trustees and beneficiaries.
  • Your living will: You may have created a living will to put someone trusted in charge of your medical decisions if you could not make the decisions yourself. If you put your ex-spouse in this position, you may no longer want him or her to hold that role.
  • Your will and testament: You may have named your spouse as the beneficiary of your estate in your will, and in most states, this information will become invalid if you divorce and your ex-spouse remains named. However, you may still want to update the information yourself.

These examples are only a few of the many ways in which you may need to change your estate plan after a divorce. It is common to consider a spouse a trusted part of your plan, but when divorce takes place, removing an ex-spouse could prove vital. Fortunately, an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney can help you bring your plan up to date.

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