Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Changing an estate plan after divorce

One step people in Connecticut who get a divorce should not neglect is making changes to their estate plans. In addition to changing his or her will so an ex-spouse no longer inherits his or her assets, a person might also want to make sure that his or her ex no longer has a role, such as executor, in the estate plan. Any family members of the ex-spouse might also be removed from the plan.

It may be necessary for other people to be appointed for certain roles. This could include powers of attorney for finance and health care. Medical professionals may naturally look to a spouse to make health care decisions, so appointing a loved on to take on this role can be important. Beneficiary designations for such assets as life insurance policies might also need to be changed. Otherwise, years after a divorce, an ex-spouse could inherit these assets.

However, it is also necessary that any changes to the estate plan be made in accordance with the divorce agreement. For example, a couple might agree that one of them will remain a life insurance beneficiary, or the agreement might specify whether one spouse is supposed to be removed from the house title.

Whether divorce takes place, an estate plan should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains up to date. When there are births, deaths or marriages in the family, the plan might also need updating. A change in tax laws or a significant gain or loss in assets could also make such a change necessary. If a person remarries, it is important that estate planning balances taking care of children from both marriages with taking care of the new spouse. Communicating clearly with family members about the estate plan might reduce the likelihood that a person's intentions might be misunderstood or that the estate plan might cause conflict.

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