Protect Yourself: Update These Documents after a Divorce

If you are recently divorced, you need to make sure you update key documents. Many people remember to change the name on their driver’s license, credit cards, and so on. While that is important, there are other documents that are arguably more so; the failure to change certain documents could result in a different distribution of your property than you might intend.

Whether or not you initiated the divorce proceedings, you probably have strong feelings about whether you want your ex to have your property or insurance benefits if something happens to you. Unfortunately, too often, people overlook or postpone dealing with this issue, with potentially disastrous results.

Here is a list of some of the types of documents you will want to update:

  • employment documents, such as payroll data and withholdings;
  • financial documents, such as bank and brokerage accounts, as well as credit cards;
  • government and identification documents, such as your Social Security card and driver’s license; and
  • documents that relate to the ownership of property, such as car titles.

Beneficiary designations should be at the top of your list. You will need to identify all of these, which typically include insurance policies, retirement plans, financial brokerage accounts, and bank accounts that are payable on death (POD).

Other critical documents that need immediate attention are your will, any trusts, and any powers of attorney or advance directives. California Probate Code § 6122 provides that a divorce automatically revokes certain aspects of a will. However, that automatic revocation may cause other unintended consequences where property is concerned.

Even if you are relatively healthy, life is unpredictable. To ensure that your wishes are carried out, it is best to update your key documents and to consult with an experienced California lawyer who can help you identify important issues that may result from your divorce.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive experience in family law matters and can advise you about many of the consequences of divorce. Contact us today to learn how our attorneys can help you in your case: (415) 293-8314.