Divorce Pending? Update Your California Estate Plan Today

Sadly, research has shown that there are an estimated 1 million divorces each year in the United States. When two people decide to dissolve their marriage, there are many tasks that lay ahead with regard to separating their affairs. One task that is sometimes overlooked is updating an older estate plan. Failing to do so can have an undesirable effect on your estate. If you are in the midst of a divorce, contact an Anaheim estate planning lawyer today for assistance modifying your documents.

A divorce in California is not final until at least six months after the date of service of a copy of the summons and petition, or the date of respondent’s appearance. Until at least that six-month period has passed, you remain legally married. If you were to pass away and had not modified your estate plan, your spouse retains his or her rights under the California Probate Code. These rights may include:

  • The right to avoid a probate administration of property distributed to him or her under your old estate plan at your passing.
  • Half of all of your community property, as defined in the Probate Code.
  • If you did not have a will in existence before passing, the surviving spouse is entitled to half of all community property in addition to a portion of your separate property.
  • The surviving spouse can claim a family allowance and a probate homestead during the probate administration process if your estate plan is not set up to avoid probate.
  • The surviving spouse has a preferred position with regard to selection as administrator of the estate if you do not have an updated will in place that appoints a different person as executor.

While some of the rights of your spouse may remain during the divorce process, there are many modifications that can be made to your California estate plan in order to minimize potential undesirable outcomes if something were to happen to you. The updates should be made at the beginning of the divorce process. Our office of experienced Anaheim estate planning attorneys can provide further guidance. Call us today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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