Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Updating estate plans after a divorce

If you are getting a divorce or have recently gotten divorced in Virginia, you understand how challenging the experience may be. As much as you may wish to take a breather from making major decisions once you finalize your divorce, there are other things you should attend to. These involve your long-term estate planning wishes.

Forbes explains that most people commonly name their spouses as beneficiaries in wills or trusts as well as on life insurance policies or retirement accounts. Unless there are specific terms of your divorce settlement that require you to keep your spouse as the named beneficiary, you may want to update these documents. It is important that you do not remove your spouse as the beneficiary if your divorce decree indicates otherwise. Your divorce decree is a legally binding document and its terms must be adhered to.

Beyond this situation, if you wish your children or anyone else to inherit your assets when you die, you must document this choice. There may be five different things for you to update including a trust, a will, a life insurance policy, a retirement account, and a power of attorney. You may or may not have all of these but if you do, each one should be amended. If you only update a will or a trust but not a life insurance policy, the beneficiary named on the insurance policy will still stand even if it differs from your will or trust.

You can learn more about updating important documents after you get divorced at the estate planning page of our Virginia family law website.

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