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Getting divorced or remarried requires an estate planning update

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Probate & Estate Planning |

Different personal experiences might motivate people to create an estate plan. For many adults, getting married or having children is what forces them to confront their future mortality. They want to ensure that their loved ones have adequate support and guidance during that difficult time.

They also need to know when to update or revise their documents. A large percentage of people never create an estate plan, so those who have done so are in a relatively good position. However, an estate plan does not indefinitely provide sufficient protection for the testator and their loved ones.

As their personal circumstances change, what a testator needs from an estate plan could change dramatically as well. People in a number of different situations might need to update or revise existing estate planning documents. For example, a change to someone’s marital status could very well be the reason they need to revisit their estate planning paperwork.

Divorce often means big changes

Estate plans often prioritize the protection of spouses and other immediate family members. Therefore, a spouse might hold a role as trustee or could be the primary beneficiary of the estate plan. Someone who recently divorced likely does not want their spouse to inherit from their estate or have control over their health care in an emergency. Updating wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents can help ensure someone’s legacy reflects their current family circumstances. People may even need to update documents filed with financial institutions and life insurance companies.

Remarriage generates unique issues

Someone who remarries probably needs to make some significant changes to their estate planning documents. Particularly if they start a blended family and have children from a prior relationship, careful planning is of the utmost importance. Someone hoping to provide financial support for a spouse without disinheriting their children might need to create a trust, for example. Someone remarrying may also need to address who would have authority over medical matters in an emergency and clarify their preferences about healthcare so that their loved ones don’t fight.

Investing the time to review and update estate planning documents when someone divorces or remarries can help protect that individual and the people they love.