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Can I Update My Estate Plan if Divorcing?

D'Angelo & Grabow, LLP Oct. 26, 2020

When making the decision to separate from your spouse and to pursue a divorce, one of the last things on your mind may be your estate plan. However, it is important to understand how ending your marriage impacts this part of your life as well.

Some aspects of an estate plan relate mostly to the distribution of your assets after you die. Other aspects of an estate plan, however, relate to managing your affairs while you are still alive.

Financial and Health Care Decisions

Unless you have documents that stipulate otherwise, your legal spouse may have the ability to manage your finances and your health care if you were involved in an accident or other event that rendered you unable to do so. If you are separated from your spouse, he or she may not be the person you want with this power.

This is why Forbes indicates that creating or updating a durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney even before you are divorced may be wise.

Asset Distribution After Your Death

When it comes to distributing your assets to heirs after you die, this part of your estate plan cannot be changed until your divorce is complete. This is due in large part to the fact that you will not know what assets you keep until that happens.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to let Wisconsin residents understand what aspects of their estate plans they may want to update upon separating from a spouse and what aspects they need to wait to amend until a divorce finalizes.