Many aspects of your life may change when you get a divorce, whether it be your living situation, your rights to certain property, or otherwise. The New York family court decides these changes. But independently, you must make changes to your estate plan. Continue reading to learn how to update your estate plan after your divorce and how an experienced New York City estate planning attorney at Zimmet Law Group, P.C. can help you in doing so.
How do I change my estate plan after my divorce?
If you made your estate plan while you were still married, it is likely that you heavily incorporated your spouse into your plans. For example, you may have included them in any or all of the following ways:
- You may have shared a joint living trust or will with your former spouse.
- You may have designated your former spouse as the beneficiary of your living trust or will.
- You may have designated your former spouse as the beneficiary of your retirement account, life insurance policy, or Social Security benefits.
- You may have designated your former spouse as the agent of your healthcare proxy.
- You may have designated your former spouse as the executor of your estate plan.
You must understand that not all estate planning documents automatically change after receiving your divorce decree. For example, in New York State, your former spouse may be considered to have predeceased you for inheritance purposes. Though, they may still receive benefits from your retirement account, life insurance policy, and Social Security benefits. So in general, if you do not want your former spouse tied to your estate in this way any longer, then you must properly update these documents.
What else do I need to change about my plan?
In addition to removing your former spouse from your estate planning documents, you must make changes that coincide with your recent life changes. Such recent life changes may or may not relate to your divorce. Relevant examples may include the following:
- You may have lost certain marital assets in your divorce and therefore must remove them from your estate plan.
- You may have recently inherited a gift and therefore must add it to your estate plan.
- You may have recently gotten remarried and therefore must add your new spouse as a beneficiary of your estate plan.
- You may have recently welcomed new children into your family and therefore must add them as beneficiaries of your estate plan.
- You may have recently welcomed new pets into your family and therefore must add a pet trust to your estate plan.
It should go without saying that you must consult with a skilled New York City estate planning attorney immediately. Give us a call whenever you can.