Planning For The ‘What-Ifs’

How do I alter my estate plan after a late-in-life divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Estate Planning

You probably did not expect to get divorced after 55, but it is not so unusual in The Valley anymore. In fact, so-called “gray divorce” is on the rise across the country. Americans are living longer, and many are deciding they do not want to spend their golden years with their current partners.

Whether you initiated your divorce or not, there is a good chance that your estate plan is suddenly out of date. Do you still want your ex to be your primary heir and the beneficiary of your trust? Probably not. At this point in your life, you likely want the bulk of your estate to go to your adult children or the grandkids. But as it stands, your former spouse is still probably included in your estate plan.

Not set in stone

Fortunately, your plan is not set in stone. Like most legal documents, you can amend it at any time, provided you are of sound mind and not under some kind of duress when you authorize the changes. Among the things you should consider amending:

  • Removing your ex as an heir, or at least reducing the portion they would inherit if you predecease them
  • Replacing them as a trustee and/or beneficiary of your trust, if you have one
  • Changing who your durable power of attorney would be if you become incapacitated

Your estate planning attorney can help you with these amendments so that the probate court will accept and enforce them when the time comes. However, things like your life insurance policy and 401(k) fall outside of probate. You need to change who the beneficiaries of those accounts are yourself.