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The Impact of Divorce on Estate Planning and Inheritance 

Posted on November 5, 2023

You worked for years, saving for retirement, and have a plan for your estate. You know who you want to inherit your assets and how you want others to be managed. Now, you are considering divorce, and you are unsure what to expect when it comes to the impact of divorce on estate planning and inheritance.

Every situation is somewhat different, so we encourage you to contact a New York City divorce attorney at the Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C., to learn how divorce will impact you personally.

How Divorce Impacts Your Estate Plan

In New York, there are several ways in which divorce can impact your estate planning. Consider the following:

1. Changes to Beneficiaries Must Occur

You should update this information if your spouse was the named beneficiary on your estate plan for any inheritance or life insurance policy. You can file a codicil to handle this process.

2. Creating a New Estate Plan

It is often necessary to create a new estate plan, including a new will, after your divorce. This new estate plan should address the new circumstances, including any changes to your assets. It is best to update your will and full estate plan with our legal guidance as soon as possible.

3. Reassign Power of Attorney

Name a durable power of attorney for all financial decisions in your name. You will also need to make a durable power of attorney for health care designation if these need to change since your divorce.

4. Change Control Over Assets

Contractual restrictions may have been put in place in your divorce through a property settlement agreement. If that is the case, these contracts restrict your ability to control or assign assets in your will. If you plan to leave any of this controlled property to anyone in your estate plan, you will need to change that to align with the court’s ruling.

5. Consider the Value of a Trust

In some situations, it may be beneficial for you to put a trust in place at this time if you do not have one or update the existing trust you have as a component of your estate plan. In a divorce, the use of a revocable living trust is beneficial, especially if you have children or dependents, as the court is likely to provide the surviving parent sole custody of the child when the other dies, allowing for the child’s inheritance to be used for things like child care. With a revocable living trust, you name the person, or trustee, who will make such decisions.

Let Our Attorneys Help You Navigate the Process

Our skilled and experienced divorce lawyers in New York can help you navigate these situations. Allow us to examine and determine the impact of divorce on your estate planning and inheritance now so that you know what and how to fight for what is owed to you.

Contact The Law Office of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. now to learn more about how we can help you. Let us answer all of your questions.

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