How do I Prepare my Estate Plan if I am Going Through a Divorce in California?

When major life events happen, it is important for an individual to update their estate plan as well to reflect these changes. This is especially so in the event of a divorce. When a divorce occurs, people will most likely not want their former spouses in positions of power in their life any longer. There are certain estate planning moves that should be made in these situations. Continue reading to learn more and contact an experienced California estate planning attorney for assistance.

Update Your Health Care Proxy

No one can ever predict the events that will happen in their future. It is because of this that it is crucial to be prepared for anything. In the event of a serious car accident or life-changing illness, it is important to have an individual in place that will take care of your health care decisions. During a marriage, most people appoint their spouse. However, in situations of divorce, this should be updated to a different person.

Change Your Power of Attorney

At some point in a marriage, spouses may have appointed powers of attorney. If a spouse is your durable power of attorney, it means they have access to all accounts and assets while you are competent. It is important to revoke this power and make sure a new power of attorney is appointed.

Find Out What Can be Changed

There are some cases in which spouses are unable to change certain documents. This may include a beneficiary designation of life insurance, retirement accounts or plans, and a pension during the divorce. Sometimes, these designations have to stay in place until a divorce is final.

Update Your Will

If possible, it is important to update a will to make sure your current spouse is not in charge of your estate. This can be changed by removing them as the executor.

Decide What You Want to Leave to Your Spouse

Spouses that are going through a divorce sometimes may want to disinherit their partner from receiving anything that is theirs. However, California is a “community property state.” This means all assets acquired during the marriage are owned equally by both spouses or 50/50. It is because of this that Californians cannot completely disinherit their spouses. The only way to protect certain assets is through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

Amend Your Trust

If possible, a revocable trust should be amended immediately. Often times, these contain assets and gifts made to the family. If you have minor children, you may wish to have a revocable trust that names a trusted individual to maintain these assets. Otherwise, the children’s guardian will have control of the money for your children after you die.

Revisit the Plan After the Divorce is Finalized

Once a divorce is final, it is important to look over the estate plan once again. This ensures any other details that need to be updated after the fact can be done and nothing is overlooked. Failure to do so can result in litigation and certain unintended consequences.

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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