Your divorce will affect where you live, how soon you can retire, and even your social circle. Many people become so focused on addressing the immediate impact of their separation from their spouse that they don’t consider what their divorce will mean for their estate plans. 

Once you file for divorce, you will probably remain committed to seeing through the dissolution of your marriage. Rather than waiting until the courts finalize your divorce, updating your estate plan now might be in your best interest.

Spouses often play a crucial role in estate plans

Although you may expect to live a long and healthy life after your divorce, the future is ultimately unpredictable. You could suffer a machinery incident at work or get diagnosed with cancer next week. 

After your divorce, your other family members could challenge an un-updated estate plan as inaccurate because of how you included your spouse. 

Your spouse has a very strong claim to your estate until you divorce, but your updated estate planning documents could help weaken that claim. Removing your spouse as a beneficiary or your designee in your advance directive or power of attorney makes it clear to the courts that you do not want them involved in your care if you become incapacitated or die.

Going through your documents once you have decided to divorce and naming someone else to handle your medical decisions will protect you, as will naming someone else’s the beneficiary for your major assets and your life insurance policy. Thinking of all the ways in which divorce will change your life and your estate wishes can help you proactively protect yourself at the end of your marriage.