two pairs of hands sitting across from each other discussing estate palling through a divorce

Estate Planning During a Divorce- What to Know

During the process of a divorce, having trusted legal experts to consult with is an invaluable reassurance. They can help you navigate the legal and financial aspects of the divorce and ensure your estate plan aligns with your post-divorce goals. While it is recommended to review your estate plan annually, the current situation calls for a review and a potential update.

During a divorce, it is crucial to seek advice from legal, financial, and estate planning specialists, such as divorce attorneys and estate planners. They can help you navigate the legal and financial aspects of the divorce and ensure your estate plan aligns with your post-divorce goals.

Specific tasks they can perform include reviewing and updating beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and any other assets with named beneficiaries. They will make sure the designated beneficiaries reflect your post-divorce wishes. If you have a will or trust in place, you will likely need to revoke or amend it to account for the divorce. This may involve naming new beneficiaries, trustees, or executors.

Excuse to Jumpstart a Legal Instrument

If you don’t currently have a will, now is a good time to create one. A will allows you to specify how your assets should be distributed after your death and name guardians for any minor children. If you have children, decide on who will have custody in the event of your death, and make sure this is clearly outlined in your will. You should also review and update your powers of attorney. You may want to appoint someone other than your former spouse to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so.

If you jointly own real estate with your former spouse, you may need to change the ownership structure or clarify how the property should be dealt with in your estate plan. Similarly, you should take inventory of your assets and their values. This can help you make informed decisions about distributing your assets or establishing trusts for specific beneficiaries. Evaluate whether life insurance is necessary for your children or other beneficiaries after death. If so, determine the appropriate coverage amount and name the beneficiaries.

Estate planning during divorce may have tax implications. Consult with a tax professional to understand how different choices could affect your estate’s tax liability. Consider what should happen to your digital assets in your estate plan, such as social media accounts, email, and online financial accounts. After the divorce, regularly review and update your estate plan to ensure it continues to align with your wishes and circumstances.

As in many potentially stressful situations, appropriate communication is essential. Inform your loved ones, particularly your children, about your estate plan and any changes you’ve made. Open communication can help prevent disputes and confusion later on. Remember that divorce and estate planning laws can vary by jurisdiction, and your specific circumstances may also require unique considerations. Consult with estate planning attorneys who are well-versed in the laws and regulations of your area to ensure that your estate plan reflects your current situation and intentions.

During Complex Times, Seek Support, And Plan for The Future

Divorce is rarely an easy process. In this context, an estate plan is vital so that your finances will continue to be in order when you transition into your next chapter of your life. The skilled legal professionals at Lowthorp Richards will provide legal advice to fortify your wealth, enhance your well-being, channel assets to your chosen heirs, and mitigate potential risks and expenses. We stand ready to assist with any inquiries, offer sound legal counsel, evaluate your estate planning, and tackle any necessary tasks to propel you forward.

Contact the dedicated team of attorneys at Lowthorp Richards for trusted guidance in asset management and estate planning by dialing (805) 981-8555 or completing our convenient online contact form. Our legal practitioners are deeply rooted in the California Tri-Counties region, serving Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.

NOTE: The information contained herein is not intended to be legal advice and the reader should know that no Attorney-Client relationship or privilege is formed by the posting or reading of this article which is also not intended to solicit business.

Cristian R. Arrieta, Lowthorp Richards McMillan Miller & Templeman, A Professional Corporation, 300 E. Esplanade Drive Suite 850, Oxnard, CA 93036