Estate Planning Checklist for the Recently Divorced

A divorced couple

The end of a marriage comes with many new beginnings. Starting a new chapter in life can be scary, thrilling, and more than a little uncertain. While you are likely eager to move on, there are certain responsibilities to take care of before you can fully do so. These chores are not always fun to think about – after all, nobody likes to consider who should inherit their assets when they die. Making these kinds of decisions ahead of time, however, can bring you peace of mind and allow you to move forward without worrying about your assets ending up in the hands of your ex or soon-to-be ex.

Here is a handy checklist for all your estate planning needs:


Your Will

Even if you already have a will in place, it is always a good idea to create a new one after a divorce. Your post-divorce will may include:

  • The decision to leave property to an individual or organization of your choice rather than your former spouse or partner
  • Creating or reestablishing a trust for any children you have
  • Choosing a guardian to care for your kids should you become incapacitated
  • Naming a new executor for your estate


Powers of Attorney

If you have not already selected a trusted family member or friend to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, now is a good time to do so. Consider executing a new statutory durable power of attorney as well as a medical power of attorney if you have your ex listed as your current agent.


Life Insurance 

Most people list their spouse as their primary life insurance beneficiary. As soon as you are legally divorced, it is time to update those designations. You might opt to list your children as your primary beneficiaries, but you can also put down your favorite charitable organization, too. It is always a good idea to list several options, just in case a primary beneficiary passes before you do.


Retirement Accounts

Once your divorce has been finalized, you will also want to make sure to update the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts. Many people have multiple 401ks, Roth IRAs, and other retirement accounts, so take the time to make sure each one is updated to reflect changes in your life. You may want to solicit the help of a trusted estate planning attorney for this task.


Too often, we hear stories where people fail to take care of estate planning concerns after a divorce. When money or assets get left in unwanted hands, the consequences can be devastating. Take action today to ensure that your wishes will be met no matter what the future holds. To ensure the proper distribution of your assets, click here or call us at (281) 885-8826 to schedule your strategy session today.

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