Recently Divorced? What You Need To Do

As an Estate Planning Attorney, I hear this question a lot, “I am recently divorced, do I need to update my Estate Plan?” The simple answer is “Yes.”


If you and/or your former spouse took time to make estate plans at some point during the marriage, then it’s likely that your former spouse is nominated as your personal representative (also referred to as an executor) in your Will. A divorce decree will not automatically void this nomination. So if you feel strongly that you are no longer comfortable with your former spouse stepping in and administering your estate, your Will should be updated. 


This is true even if you had nominated one or even two other alternate personal representatives.  The court will want to appoint the person based on priority, e.g. first nominee, second nominee, etc…  Even if your former spouse is not the first nominee, the only way to ensure that they will not be appointed is to draft a new Will. 


In addition, if you had prepared an estate plan during the marriage it is highly likely that it was written for your former spouse to inherit your estate upon passing and vice versa.  Once the divorce is finalized and all the property has been appropriately split between the two of you.  You received your share and your former spouse received their share.  Now, in light of the divorce, you’ll want to re-evaluate who you will want to inherit and how much you will want them to inherit.  If you have minor children, you will need to decide at what age you wish for them to inherit and the best manner if which for them to inherit. 


Updating your estate plan is especially critical if you have children together and you and your former spouse do not agree on how they should be cared for.  Ask yourself: How do you want the kids to be taken care of if something happens to you? And what if something should happen to both of you?

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

Death is a part of life. Like taxes, there's no avoiding it. Also, like taxes, you may not like thinking or talking about the subject. However, if you think about death and how to handle your remains from a planning…

Every child deserves love, stability, and consistency. Is there a child in your life that you have considered adopting, perhaps because they are the child of your spouse or a child you are fostering? Perhaps there is an adult in…

The thought of losing your home or its contents in a disaster is a scary thought. Loss of life, destruction of irreplaceable items such as home movies, photos, and heirlooms make it unconscionable. But as we know in life, sometimes…

Spoiler alert: If you’re doing everything around the house (or at work) because you’re living (working) with a bunch of incompetent fools, or so they’ve led you to believe they are, you’re being manipulated. So pervasive is this phenomenon, there’s…

If you've created an estate plan, you've already spent a good deal of time thinking about what will happen to you if you become sick, incapacitated, or die, including where you will go (literally) when you die. After all, you don't want your…

If you're 18 or older and live in Washington State, you can legally change your name to anything you want as long as you're not doing so to commit fraud. For example, if your goal is to change your name to evade…

Your estate plan should ensure your special needs child experiences the best quality of life they can, that the assets upon which they will rely will last as long as possible during their lifetime, and that their eligibility for public services will be maximized. Learn more.

Popular culture is using the moniker "America's daughter" to describe Gabby Petito because she could've been any of our daughters. Learn how to talk to your daughter about the signs of domestic abuse.

When a couple decides to divorce, and one spouse is unable to support themselves, spousal support becomes a hot-button issue. Learn how to mitigate conflict and move forward.

To date, 676,000 people in the US have died from COVID-19, many parents of minor children. Without a will there is no instruction on who should care for them. Make your wishes known, learn how.