Rebuilding your life after a divorce is an important process. One task that is critical not to overlook is updating your estate plan. As an estate planning lawyer, Nicole Pavlik has helped many new divorced men and women properly update or create estate plans that reflect their new status. Below is a list of six estate planning steps she recommends after getting a divorce.
- Make a New Will
You should revoke your old will and create a new one that reflects your current wishes. Likely your ex-spouse was a, if not the only, beneficiary in your old will. Additionally, it is common for individuals to name their spouse as executor. You probably want to choose another individual to assume this role.
- Update Trusts
If your estate plan includes a trust, you should review and update this document. It is likely your ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary or a trustee. Furthermore, the property funded into the trust may have been affected by the property division during the divorce.
- Create New Powers of Attorney
If your ex-spouse is named as your agent on your powers of attorney, you should revoke these documents and create new financial and health care powers of attorney. You should select a new agent, such as an adult child, sibling, or trusted friend.
- Select New Beneficiaries
It is critical to review and update your beneficiary designations for all beneficiary accounts ((401(k) accounts, life insurance, IRA accounts, pensions, etc.). You most likely do not want these accounts to go to your ex-spouse. However, if an individual is required to pay alimony, the court may order them to maintain a life insurance policy with the ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
- Retitle Assets
You must retitle your assets to reflect all changes in property ownership as written in your divorce decree and property settlement agreement. In Arizona, any property held as joint tenants with the right of survivorship or community property with the right of survivorship will automatically switch to a tenancy in common when there is a divorce.
- Plan for Minor Children
If a parent passes away, the children will be raised by the the surviving parent. You may wish to include your children as beneficiaries in some way and your estate planning attorney will advise you how to best do that. As to choice of guardian, you may need to think about that as well. If you have concerns that the choice may have different implications because of the divorce, discuss any concerns you may have with Attorney Pavlik.
Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney who can help you update your estate plan after a divorce. If you have questions, estate planning especially after a divorce, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation. We can meet virtually or in person.