When a California resident is going through a divorce, their estate plan is often on the back burner. However, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to update those legal documents before your marriage is over. It can help prevent certain problems in the future.
Why you shouldn’t wait to update your estate plan
You shouldn’t wait to update your estate plan during a divorce. Nothing in life is certain; you could end up incapacitated or even pass away before your divorce is finalized, which could create issues regarding who receives your assets. It also means that your estranged spouse might have control over your finances or medical care when you really didn’t want that.
If you have children from a prior marriage or relationship, your spouse could also prevent them from getting the inheritance you intended to leave them. These issues show how important it is to be proactive about updating your estate plan before the ink is dry on your divorce decree.
Estate planning documents to update
Updating certain estate planning documents is more urgent. You might want to revoke your will and create a new one while divorcing. This is easy enough as you can name an executor and heirs, nominate a guardian for your minor children and explain your final wishes.
Beneficiary designations should be updated immediately to prevent your assets and property from getting into the wrong hands. You will want to remove your spouse and add someone else in their place to inherit any financial accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s and life insurance.
Update your powers of attorney to name new agents to handle your financial and health care matters in case you become incapacitated. You can name a trusted relative, friend or even a professional to handle those issues.
These steps can protect you, your heirs and your estate after a divorce.