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How Updating Your Estate Plan After Divorce Can Save You from Unwanted Consequences

Many divorcees can agree that their ex-spouse is the last person they want inheriting their assets upon death or making their medical decisions upon disability, so save yourself further stress by updating your estate plan to reflect your life post-divorce.

Today, most states, including Texas, will disinherit an ex-spouse beneficiary named in your will, operating as if your ex-spouse predeceased you and allowing your assets to pass to a designated alternate beneficiary. However, if you have failed to list alternate beneficiaries your assets will pass intestate, according to the laws of you home state. Leaving your estate in the hands of the state can cause uncertainty among your heirs, especially as laws change; therefore, revoking your old will, drafting a new will post-divorce, and dictating your new wishes is the best option for you and your heirs.

Indeed, your will might be the most important update of your estate plan, but it does not always dispose of your entire estate, which is why you must also update your beneficiary designations. Assets that let you designate a beneficiary-such as life insurance policies, retirement plans, and annuities-are not controlled by your will. Conversely, these assets will be directly distributed to the listed beneficiary. To keep these assets safely in the hands of the appropriate heirs, it is necessary to change your beneficiary designations to further meet your estate planning goals post-divorce.

In addition to updating these components of your estate plan, you will need to draft new power of attorneys-durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney. Giving your ex-spouse such broad powers over your medical and financial decisions after divorce can leave your intentions unfulfilled. Accordingly, you should revoke both documents and draft new ones, naming a person who you can trust and rely on to have your best interests in mind.

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