For good or for ill, life changes. We’re here to help you change your estate planning preparations when it does.
Revise your estate plan as soon as a lengthy separation seems likely. After all, would you want your estranged spouse to own or control all you have if you die or become incompetent during your separation?
Hammer out a property settlement agreement (PSA) as soon as a lengthy separation seems likely. If you divorce, the PSA gets incorporated into the final decree. If you reconcile, you can rescind the PSA.
Have an estate planning attorney—not your divorce attorney—review your property settlement agreement (PSA) and your estate plan promptly after your divorce is final. If you do nothing, it is still possible for your ex-spouse to benefit upon your death or incompetency under certain documents. As for the PSA, we often find surprising executory provisions in PSAs, through the neglect of which one party has lost a benefit or incurred a liability.
You will almost certainly need to appoint new fiduciaries, given the effect of divorce on relationships.
If you haven’t remarried yet, consider the prenuptial agreement. If you have remarried, consider a marital agreement. Remember, marriage gives each spouse significant rights in the other’s property.
The older and wealthier you are upon remarriage, the more likely it is that you will want to plan your estate separately from that of your new spouse. Documents are not enough. How you title your assets must coordinate with the plan described by your documents.