A California divorce changes many aspects of your life, including your financial and legal affairs. During divorce proceedings, many people in your shoes overlook the need to update their estate plans.
Your estate plan outlines what will happen to your finances and personal affairs after your passing. As you go through a divorce, it is wise to revisit and revise your estate plan to ensure it aligns with your current wishes and circumstances.
Revoke or update your will
If you have an existing will, you may want to revoke it and create a new one to reflect your changed circumstances. In California, if you pass away with a will that includes provisions benefiting your former spouse, those provisions may remain enforceable unless you take action to revoke them.
Review and update beneficiary designations
Many financial assets, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies, require you to designate beneficiaries. These designations often take precedence over what your will says. To avoid unintentionally leaving assets to your ex-spouse, review and update these beneficiary designations. Name new beneficiaries in line with your current wishes, such as children, family members or trusted friends.
Update your power of attorney
A power of attorney grants someone the authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. If you named your ex-spouse as your power of attorney agent, you want to designate someone else to avoid potential conflicts of interest or disputes over decision-making authority.
Per U.S. News and World Report, the divorce rate in California is about 6.5 per every 1,000 couples. Updating your estate plan during divorce gives you one less thing to worry about as you transition into life on your own.