Don’t Leave Your Assets to Your Ex: Update Your Anaheim Estate Plan

It is often said that a divorce is one of the most difficult experiences to go through. Unfortunately, during this time of emotional strain, there are many important tasks that must be tended to in order to ensure that your estate plan is in alignment with your new goals and wishes. Modifying an estate plan following a divorce will allow your assets to pass to your loved ones in the manner that you see fit.

Why is it so important to modify your Anaheim estate plan after a divorce? The following are three common reasons:

  1. If you do not create a new will after your divorce, it could create confusion among your beneficiaries as to who should receive your property. In some cases, the bequests that you made to your loved ones may lapse because of the divorce, causing them to be distributed according to California intestacy law.
  2. Your previous estate plan was likely designed to accommodate the specific type and nature of your assets. Following a divorce settlement, the nature and amount of these assets has likely changed. It is therefore crucial that your Anaheim estate plan be modified to accommodate the changes to your assets. The strategy that worked well for your overall plan before your divorce may no longer work as well following the divorce.
  3. If you do not address non-probate assets, they could pass to your ex-spouse. In all likelihood, this is not who you would want to receive your property. For example, if you had a life insurance policy before your divorce that named your spouse as a beneficiary, and you did not update the beneficiary designation after your divorce, the ex-spouse may receive the proceeds if you pass away. This also applies to accounts that were held jointly with your ex-spouse. Jointly held assets typically pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon death.

Clearly, there are important reasons for keeping your Anaheim estate plan up to date. To learn more about this and other popular estate planning questions, follow us on Facebook!

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