An Ex as an Executor? Update These 6 Appointments Following Divorce

After a divorce, it is time to sit down with your attorney and update your Anaheim estate plan. Many aspects of your plan will likely need revision. Fortunately, your legal advisor can help walk you through this process. One way to begin thinking about what updates you may need is to consider the various roles that your ex-spouse may have played in your original plan. The following are six such roles that you may have appointed to your ex-spouse, that will likely need updating following your divorce:

  1. Executor, or personal representative, under your will.
    The executor is the person who will handle the administration of your probate estate following your passing. Typically, an ex-spouse is not the ideal candidate to serve in this role. When choosing your replacement, you will want to appoint someone with whom you feel comfortable, someone you trust, and someone who is responsible.
  2. Your agent appointed to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
    In the event that you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions about your healthcare, your estate plan allows you to appoint someone to make those decisions on your behalf. In most cases, an ex-spouse is not the best choice to serve in this role. Instead, consider appointing a relative, friend, or loved one who is familiar with your end-of-life wishes.
  3. The trustee, successor trustee, or co-trustee of your Anaheim living trust.
    A trust is, in many cases, the most important of all your estate planning documents. With proper planning, a majority of your assets may be governed by the terms of your trust. If you do not feel comfortable with an ex-spouse overseeing the management and distribution of the majority of your assets, you should amend your trust to appoint someone else to fulfill the role of trustee.
  4. The person appointed to act on your behalf under a durable power of attorney.
    The individual given power of attorney typically has access to all of your financial accounts. There is no requirement that you be incapacitated in order for it to be utilized. Therefore, it is unwise to name anyone who is not a highly trusted loved one or advisor.
  5. The beneficiary of your property under your will.
    After a divorce, you may have changed your mind as to whom you would like to receive your assets. Under the terms of your will, you likely named your ex-spouse as a beneficiary. This should be changed following a divorce.
  6. The beneficiary of your property under your living trust.
    Similar to your will, you likely named your ex-souse as a beneficiary under your trust before your separation. Now that your divorce is finalized, it is important to amend your trust to accurately reflect your wishes.

Keeping your Anaheim estate plan up to date is crucial to the plan’s success. To learn more about this and other popular estate planning questions, follow us on YouTube!

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