Estate Planning After Divorce
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Estate Planning After Divorce

If you have recently gone through a divorce, it is very important to update your estate plan. Failing to revise your plan could result in unintended beneficiaries inheriting valued property or money from you. Most states will automatically disinherit your ex-spouse when you have left assets to him or her but have failed to update your plan following a divorce. This means the assets will go to the next beneficiary in line, which could be different than what you have intended. Use these tips below to update your estate plan after a divorce.

Draft A New Will

The majority of wills feature language that revokes all previous wills. As stated above, when you get a divorce and fail to update your will, your ex-spouse will be treated as if they have predeceased you and will not be awarded assets or be able to be executor of the will. However, it is important to note that this is not the case in all states. If you live in a state that does not automatically disinherit your ex-spouse, they could end up inheriting your entire estate. This will also be true if you die prior to the divorce being finalized.

Everyone needs to be aware that even though your ex-spouse may be automatically disinherited under state law, their children and other members of the family will not be. So, if they have been included in your will but it has not been updated, they will still be listed as beneficiaries. If you still wish to leave some assets behind to your ex-spouse following a divorce, you must make those wishes clear in the new will. Even if you choose not to leave any assets to your ex, you may still want him or her named as the executor of your will.

Update Trusts

It is quite common for trusts to be included in an estate plan. These will also need updating following a divorce process. Most states, as mentioned above, will automatically remove your ex-spouse as the beneficiary of a trust, provided that said trust is revocable at the time of your death. If you have an irrevocable trust with your ex-spouse listed as a beneficiary, they will remain the beneficiary after a divorce.

Designate Beneficiaries

During or even after a divorce, it’s crucial to confirm that your beneficiary designations are as you wish on all your accounts, insurance, and other estate planning tools. For instance, insurance policies may name your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, so you may want to update that at this time. It is also important for individuals to contact the human resources department at their place of employment to ensure all employee benefits are updated properly.

Legal Guardians For Minors

Most couples choose to select someone to be the guardian of their children if they die and they will name said person in a will or trust. You may want to update this portion following a divorce. In most cases, the children will go to the other spouse if one dies. However, you may want to name someone else in case your former spouse predeceases you. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you throughout this difficult process.


  1. (2023, September). Estate Planning After Divorce. Retrieved May 07, 2024, from

Speak With Our Estate Planning Attorneys In Phoenix, Arizona Today

Estate planning is the right thing to do for the people you love. It’s another way to say “thank you” to those who love you. Some of the decisions are hard, but at Ogborne Law, we will help you navigate these difficult decisions.

Your Arizona estate planning attorney can help you select a will or trust or both. Your estate solution will work for you. You will have the peace of mind that comes with effective planning for the future. Call 602.343.1435 or contact Ogborne Law with questions.

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