Should you update your will during a divorce?

If you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, it is a good idea to review your will and estate plan with a knowledgeable attorney. The process and procedure of obtaining a divorce can, in some cases, take more than a year to complete. You will want to be sure that your estate is handled appropriately if the unforeseen happens during the divorce. Be sure to alert your family law attorney regarding the steps you want to take to change your estate. Also, make sure that any property settlement agreement contains the appropriate language to protect you from later claims by your ex-spouse.

Here are a few tips to remember when updating your estate plan during divorce:

1. Check the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies and all retirement accounts. In some instances, you may need to maintain life insurance policies to secure alimony or other financial payments. Absent those circumstances, you want to be sure that any of these policies or accounts are given to the right people.

2. Update your power of attorney and choose a new executor for your estate. A power of attorney is the person who will make decisions (medical and/or financial) in the event you are incapacitated. The executor of your estate will be in charge of your will and coordinating your funeral arrangements. Once you have made these changes, be sure to alert these individuals of the role they will play after your death.

3. Update your will to ensure that your ex-spouse does not benefit in the event of your death during the pendency of the divorce. Make sure that the will spells out the benefits that will be given to family members and/or friends.

If you, or someone you know, needs assistance with estate planning during a divorce, click or call our experienced family law attorneys at 610-892-3877.

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About the author

About Melissa Towsey

Melissa graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002 with a double major in Sociology and Foreign Affairs. After working for several years as a paralegal in Washington, D.C., she attended The University of Villanova School of Law and graduated in 2010. During law school, Melissa was involved in several public interest organizations and published an article in Villanova’s Environmental Law Journal, “Something Stinks: The Need for Environmental Regulation of Puppy Mills” 21 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 159 (2010) http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arus21villenvtllj159.htm. After law school, Melissa clerked for the Honorable Thomas G. Parisi, Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division in the Court of Common Pleas, Berks County.