Don't Wait Till The Divorce Is Final To Address Estate Issues

Posted on: 2 November 2021

Few can predict how long your divorce may take. In the meantime, all sorts of things could go wrong. Once a divorce is assuredly in your future, make an appointment with your estate lawyer and update your plan. This is an instance where what you don't do can actually cause a lot of problems. Read on to find out more.

Transitions and Estate Plans

The time between your decision to part ways and when the divorce becomes final can last for months. Regardless of the complexity of your divorce or how much you and your spouse want to settle things, it's better to be proactive when it comes to estate matters. Consider this, you and your spouse are still considered lawfully married until the final decree is handed down. 

Areas of Concern

Pay special attention to the following issues, some need to be addressed during the separation, and some need to be dealt with after the divorce becomes final.

Life insurance

If you currently have your spouse listed as the beneficiary on a policy, consider your options going forward. Some divorcing couples with children set up separate life insurance plans to address the needs of their children. If you do nothing with your life insurance plans, your spouse will continue to be the sole beneficiary, even after you are legally divorced.

Powers of attorney

Check and make sure that you still want your spouse to have power over your business and financial affairs should you become incapacitated during your separation.


 Most states have protections in place that prohibit leaving a lawful spouse out of the will entirely. Particularly when it comes to real estate, you may want to wait until the divorce is final to change that area of your will. Speak to an estate lawyer to find out more.

If you have adult children, be sure you are addressing your wishes with specific bequests. If you have minor children and you are the sole physical custodian, take steps to appoint a guardian for the children if you believe your ex is unfit to parent them. You can use a will or a trust to appoint someone to care for your children along with a fund to take care of their financial needs. If you do appoint a guardian and the child's biological parent is available, the guardianship can be challenged in court.


If you have made your spouse the recipient of your inheritance using a trust, you must make changes if you want to make someone else or your children the beneficiary.

For more help with making changes to your estate plan, speak to an estate planning service near you.