As one goes through a divorce, updating their estate plan may be the last thing on a Pittsburgh resident’s mind. Others may not easily see how the prospect of a failed marriage, either their own or that of a loved one, might affect estate plans.
While there are certainly plenty of things to think about during and after a divorce, a Pennsylvania resident would be advised never to overlook how divorce could affect his or her plans for transferring wealth.
It is important to update one’s estate planning, other documents during divorce
Like other states, Pennsylvania offers some protection to those who forget to remove an ex-spouse from a will, trust, or other document. However, these protections have their limits.
Once a person has determined to go forward with a divorce, they should update all important estate planning documents sooner rather than later.
In addition to removing their estranged spouse, they will want to be sure that they are still comfortable with their estranged in-laws being part of or a beneficiary in their estate plan.
For example, if they have minor children, they might not want to have former in-laws serving as a guardian for those children.
At the proper time, a person should not forget also to update beneficiary designations on his or her individually owned retirement accounts, life insurance policies and the like.
Divorce is still a consideration in estate planning even for the happily married
Even a happily married person will want to think about the possibility of a divorce when doing estate planning.
Even if a marriage is stable, the marriages of children and other loved ones might not be. Without careful consideration, for example, a person may wind up leaving their legacy in the hands of a former in-law when they would have preferred not to do so.
Even Seniors in particular may find themselves involved in a divorce, possibly after a lengthy marriage. Pennsylvania residents should understand and evaluate their estate planning options accordingly.