Estate Planning and Divorce 

Divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotional situations an individual can go through. Unfortunately, divorce is common in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the divorce rate is 2.3 per 1,000 total population.

If you are facing a divorce in the state of California, you may find yourself overwhelmed with questions about the process and worried about what will happen. You may also have many tasks to take care of.

While decisions addressing your ex-spouse and family members are the priority, it’s imperative to add one more task to your “to-do” list: estate planning.

Whether you and your ex-spouse drafted an estate plan 5 years ago or you are drafting a new one, it’s important to take care of it now.

In this article, our skilled estate planning attorneys at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. share 4 estate planning moves if you are obtaining a divorce.

1.     Establish Guardianship for Children

If you name your children as beneficiaries and they are minors when you die, a court guardianship must be established for them until they become eighteen years old.

If you have children, it’s important to note who will take care of them if you become incapacitated or die.  In many cases, a parent will establish a court guardianship with their spouse. However, after a divorce occurs, he or she may not want their ex-spouse to take care of their kids.

2.     Write an Advance Health Care Directive

An advance health care directive is a legal document that allows you to name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable. Most married couples name each other, but once you finalize a divorce, you probably will not want to assign your ex-spouse to make life and death decisions for you. You can name a parent, sibling, or close friend.

An advance health care directive is beneficial in:

  • Preventing discord among family members
  • Giving guidance to your doctors
  • Reducing the burden of decision-making for caretakers
  • Providing closure to your family and friends

3.     Revise the Plan After the Divorce is Finalized

A major mistake many people make is to create an estate plan and then give it no more thought while circumstances in their life continue to change.

After the divorce is finalized, make sure to revisit your estate plan and address what needs to be updated. It’s especially important to look at beneficiary designations. A beneficiary is a person or organization that you legally designate to receive your death benefits.

Once a divorce occurs, many people forget that their ex-spouse is still assigned to inherit their assets. Unfortunately, this can result in litigation and serious consequences, once they pass away.

4.     Seek the Help of An Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer is an attorney who is knowledgeable and skilled in all aspects of estate planning. Estate planning lawyers review, analyze and make recommendations regarding personal and administrative aspects of a client’s assets. A compassionate estate planning attorney will be interested in your wishes and will demonstrate a high degree of sensitivity regarding any family or health concerns.

Whether you are brand new to estate planning or you need to modify an existing plan after a divorce, reach out to the attorneys at Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd.. At Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd., our estate planning attorneys carry over 90 years of combined experience helping clients draft comprehensive estate plans tailored to their individual needs.

Founder attorney, Christopher E. Botti, is also a Board-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law.

We understand what you may be feeling in a divorce and are here to give you peace of mind. Allow us to guide you through the estate planning process step-by-step.

Botti & Morison Estate Planning Attorneys, Ltd. has offices in Ventura, Westlake Village, Santa Barbara, Valencia, Bakersfield, and San Luis Obispo, California. Call us today at (877) 585-1885 to set up your first consultation.