Divorce brings many changes with it. After your divorce is finalized and you begin to move forward with your life, you may make changes to many things in your life. It’s crucial that as you do so, you take time to review your estate plan and make changes to that, too. Today, I’d like to share five types of changes that divorced individuals may need to make to their estate plans.
If you created a will or a trust while you were married, those documents likely contain provisions for your former spouse. You may also have named them as your executor or trustee. Now that you are divorced, it’s time for you to change those critical estate planning documents as soon as you can to reflect your current plans for your estate.
If you and your former spouse have minor children, there’s a good chance that they are still the person that you would choose as guardian for the children if you pass away before the children are adults. That said, you may not want your former spouse to be in charge of managing any financial assets that you wish to pass on to your children if you pass away before they are adults. A revocable trust enables you to name a trustee who would manage and disburse any financial assets left to your children on behalf of your children according to instructions that you provide.
Guardianship of your minor children may also be an issue you address in your estate plan, especially if your children’s other parent has an addiction or other condition that renders them unfit to parent your children. If this situation applies to your family, an estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan that complies with all applicable laws while protecting the safety of your children if you pass away before they are adults.
Beneficiary designations for financial assets are often addressed in divorce decrees. After your divorce, be sure to change your beneficiary designations so that they comply with the terms of your divorce decree – the divorce decree does not change those forms for you. Whether your divorce decree releases you from having your former spouse as a beneficiary or it requires that you do so, your divorce is a major life event that requires you to revisit and adjust your beneficiary designations.
Divorce decrees also often address life insurance. Life insurance policy beneficiary designations do not change automatically upon divorce. You must amend your life insurance beneficiary designations to comply with your divorce decree.
After a divorce, it’s time to review and revise your estate plan. The five changes suggested above are just a few of the adjustments that you may need to make. Wichita attorney J. Joseph Weber is here to serve you and help you revise your estate plan. Please call our office at 316-265-7802, or contact us online to arrange a consultation to discuss your Kansas estate planning questions.