Change These Documents After Your Divorce

Change These Documents After Your Divorce

Many things change during a divorce: residence, last name, marital status (of course). With all these adjustments, it may be natural to miss a few. Certain documents, though, may have a long-lasting effect on you and your heirs.

Your Estate Planning Documents.

Any time you experience a life event – like divorce, marriage, or an addition to the family – it’s extremely important to review and update your estate planning documents.


Your Will tells everyone where you want your possession to go when you die. People who are married often give most, if not all, of their estate to their spouses. Sometimes the executor named is also the spouse of the person signing the Will. Obviously, if your marriage is at a point where you want out, you’ll want to remove all references to your spouse.

A durable power of attorney grants an agent the authority to act on your behalf. Married couples often name each other as agents. You can revoke your power of attorney at any time.

The Advanced Healthcare Directive is another common estate planning document. This document also grants an agent power to act on your behalf. Unless you really want your ex-partner making end-of-life decisions for you, you should change this document immediately.

Your Beneficiary Designations.

Companies like financial institutions and insurance companies give accountholders the ability to designate beneficiaries on their accounts. These designations should be changed as soon as possible. However, unlike estate planning documents, these designations usually cannot be changed during a divorce proceeding. As soon as you are legally allowed, name new beneficiaries on all your accounts.

Also, remember that changing your Will does not affect how accounts with beneficiary designations pass to your heirs. So, disowning your spouse in a new Will does not mean he won’t have a claim against a life insurance policy where he’s named the beneficiary.

Divorce Is Hard. We Can Help.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger specialize in family law matters. Feel free to give us a call at 415-293-8314 to set up a confidential appointment.

Our offices are conveniently located in San Francisco, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacrament), and Roseville.