Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce

When you are like most people who have just gone through a divorce or who are getting divorced, you no longer want your ex-spouse to be the recipient of your property or put your children in a position to be dispossessed whether your ex-spouse becomes to marry after divorce. When your new plan was to leave everything to your spouse and then to your children, your ex-spouse can still get much of the property from her if you don’t change your estate plans after the divorce.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Although a divorce decree will usually automatically revoke any property dispositions made by your will to your ex-spouse, your recipient designations, on things like your IRA and insurance, won’t automatically be revoked by your divorce decree. You should carefully review and probably amend the following items after a divorce unless you still want to leave properties to your ex-spouse:

  1. Designations of beneficiaries for the following financial instruments:
  • Employer retirement plans
  • Individual retirement accounts
  • Health savings accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Annuities
  1. Your will.
  2. Bank accounts payable on death
  3. Transfer on Death investment accounts
  4. Advanced estate planning structures.
  5. Living trust.

You can modify these items in most cases just by requesting and filling out the right form. It is significant that you change the beneficiary designations on these accounts initially after your divorce,as employer and retirement plans can represent the largest portion of your net worth and liquid assets. Since these pass to the designated beneficiary by contract operation, rather than a succession, their designations replace your will. visit at to learn about managing will and trust.

Guardianship Issues and Remarriage

If something were to happen to you, your ex-spouse would assume guardianship of your children. But, that assumes that your ex-spouse desires to and is in a position to raise the children. Your ex-spouse will be responsible for providing a residence for the children and providing care, support, and education if he/she is likely to assume guardianship.

When you are concerned that the money you leave behind your children will not be used as you would like whether your ex-spouse has access to those assets. You can stipulate in a revocable living trust that the trustee taking over in the event of death, pay for certain items from trust funds, such as extracurricular activities, private school tuition, a car at a certain age, college applications, and so on. Therefore, you can protect your child’s estate by having a living trust in place with a trustee who will complete your desires that you specially designate. Click here to learn more about guardianship issues.


If you decide to remarry, you must know that without legal documentation to the contrary, your new spouse can usually be entitled to half of her marital estate. This could also mean that you could inadvertently as a minimum partially disinherit your current children. Your new spouse may not transpire as your children’s guardian, but he/she may get half of the properties to support them.

Complex Changes

If you have innovative estate planning structures, such as Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, and Charitable Trusts, it will be very hard, if possible to modify them. As the new intention to create these structures was to make an irreversible choice, generally structured to benefit both husband and wife. It is serious that you work carefully with your lawyer and the trustee, to explore possible choices.

You should also be aware that several states have an elective participation statute that means that one spouse will automatically be named to a definite percentage of your property. But, there are several ways to avoid or limit the assets through proper planning that are subject to elective participation as well as provide that your separated spouse does not get more of your estate than you wish. This is a new reason why it is wise to revisit your best estate plan after divorce.