Can a Divorce Impact My Estate Plan in California?

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When you finalize the estate planning process, it can be frustrating to take the time to make necessary changes regarding these documents. However, there are often certain instances in which it’s imperative to take the correct steps to change the terms and conditions of your will or trust. One of the most important times you should update this plan is after you and your spouse divorce. Unfortunately, many underestimate the impact that a divorce can have on their estate plan. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to ensure you keep reading to learn what you can expect after this process and how a Los Angeles divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex legal issue.

What Will Happen to My Estate Plan Following a Divorce?

After a divorce, it’s essential to understand that your estate plan can be considerably impacted by this process. There are unique considerations that must be made, as no two plans are the same. However, in general, you may find that some things ring true across California.

If you are in the middle of a divorce, you will be unable to create a new trust fund. This is because it can be considered an attempt to hide assets from your spouse to avoid a fair split of marital assets during the dissolution of your marriage. Additionally, if you have a living trust established after you and your spouse were legally married, this will be dissolved when you file for divorce. This is because the assets held in the trust are considered martial property and must be divided in accordance with California law.

In your will, you likely named your spouse as a beneficiary. It is important to note that California, unless otherwise explicitly stated in the document, will revoke the distribution of assets to a named spouse, instead granting them to a different beneficiary.

Finally, if you have named your spouse as your financial or medical power of attorney, their privileges will be revoked upon your divorce.

What Documents Should I Update?

If you and your spouse divorce in California, there are certain documents you must update. For example, despite the protection granted for your will, you may want to redistribute the assets your spouse was going to receive to your beneficiaries. Additionally, you must name a new financial or medical power of attorney to ensure your wishes are met in the event you are unable to advocate for yourself.

As you can see, your divorce can impact many areas of your life. Not only is this a complex emotional time, but it can also affect your established estate plan. Luckily, the team at the Zitser Family Law Group has experience handling many issues regarding divorce, so you can rest assured that your finances are in good hands so you can focus on the things that matter most during this time. Contact us today to learn how we can guide you through these challenging times.

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