Have You Updated Your Estate Plan Since Your Divorce?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Family law issues and estate planning frequently overlap, particularly in matters related to divorce. If you or a loved one goes through a divorce, then you may need to update your estate planning documents to reflect the change in family dynamics.

For example, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary on your insurance policy, then you probably want to take your spouse's name off the policy unless you want him or her to receive benefits. Keep in mind, too, that insurance policies and other agreements with beneficiaries -- a 401(k) plan, for example -- can override what you stipulate in your will.

In other words, even when your will states that the proceeds of your insurance policy should go to your eldest child, the proceeds will go to your ex-spouse if he or she is named as beneficiary.

Your estate plan may also need to be updated if you at one time intended to leave assets to someone who is no longer married to your child. These kinds of updates, regardless of how sensible they may be, do not happen automatically.

If you have a retirement plan such as a 401(k), IRA or pension, then these assets may be subject to property division in the event that you divorce. Dividing a retirement plan with your spouse can have a major effect on your plans for your golden years, so it is crucial to work with a divorce lawyer who also has the knowledge and skills needed for comprehensive estate planning.

Scaringi Law, is a full-service law firm handling family law and estate planning matters for clients in Harrisburg, Newport, Carlisle and throughout Pennsylvania. To learn more, please see our Pennsylvania Estate Planning overview.


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