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How does divorce affect an estate plan?

If you are one of the many people in California who is facing an impending divorce or who may even be in the midst of a divorce right now, you know all too well just how many details there are for you to address during this process. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by what are the most pressing issues at the moment, such as whether or not you will sell your house, which spouse might keep the pets or how you will divide your retirement accounts. However, in addition to these things, you should also pay attention to other matters involving your estate planning.

As explained by Forbes, most couples list each other as their primary beneficiaries on life insurance policies or 401K accounts. Spouses are also commonly identified as heirs to a person's estate and as executors of each others' wills. It is also a standard practice for a person's wife or husband to be the identified power of attorney for financial matters and the decision maker for health care purposes when the patient is unable to make decisions for themselves.

All of these will need to be reviewed when you get divorced. It is important to note, however, that some things may be able to be changed while you are still legally married but others have to wait until your divorce is finalized.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in California some ideas about how they might protect themselves and their assets during and after a divorce by reviewing and updating important elements of their estate plan.

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