Important to update your estate plan after divorce

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

Divorce can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including his or her estate plan. Your estate planning documents will not be automatically updated or cancelled at the end of your marriage, and failing to properly address these matters could lead to family disputes and financial troubles down the road.

For example, your spouse may be named as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or insurance policy. Unless you want that status to remain the same, you will need to take the right steps to remove your spouse from that role in your estate plan.

Alberta’s divorce and estate laws do not automatically ensure that your children will receive your assets after you are gone. The matter of distributing estate assets may be particularly complicated if you have remarried or been divorced multiple times. To protect yourself and your children, it is crucial to update your will and other estate documents to reflect your current situation.

Recommended legal tools for customizing an estate plan include a will, power of attorney and personal directive. If your divorce affects any of these things (and it likely does), then you should speak with a lawyer with experience in both estate planning and family law. Everyone’s situation is different, and a legal professional can develop a comprehensive plan that provides individualized solutions.

You undoubtedly want to protect your financial future and your children’s financial future, and to meet those goals, an effective estate plan should take into account your divorce.

For more on these matters, please see our overview of post-divorce estate planning in Alberta.

Related Posts: Understanding home ownership and property rights in a divorce, Travelling without children during a family law dispute, Set boundaries and rules to protect kids from child custody drama, Protecting credit amidst a family law dispute