Impacts of Divorce on a Pennsylvania Estate Plan

Posted October 26, 2023

  • Impacts of Divorce on a Pennsylvania Estate Plan

Are you considering divorce or are you already in the process of divorcing your spouse? In your calculus of considerations including property distribution, potential custody issues, and joint bank accounts, you should consider the effects of divorce on your Pennsylvania Estate Plan.

Many people believe that by filing a divorce complaint, their spouse, and the spouse’s extended family are automatically removed from any benefits under the divorcing spouse’s estate plan. Simply put, this is not true. There are several factors that must be considered and understood regarding your Estate plan. Specifically, your entire estate plan must be closely inspected.

Designation of Beneficiaries

A component of your review includes should include review of all beneficiary designations related to investment, retirement, life insurance, and other financial accounts. The beneficiaries of your Last Will & Testament must be reviewed and evaluated to properly determine how you wish your Estate to be distributed in light of the divorce complaint.

Decision-Making Authority

In addition to your Will, your Estate plan should also include an appointment of an Executor, a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives. It is common to designate a spouse to serve in these decision-making roles. In light of your divorce, you may want to reevaluate and consider alternative individuals that you trust to fulfill these roles.

Do not risk the chance that your soon-to-be ex-spouse receives an unintended benefit or has the ability to make decisions on your behalf, under your former Estate plan. An updated Estate plan could save your loved ones from the unfortunate circumstance of sharing your assets with someone you were in the process of divorcing. It could also ensure that important decisions are being made by someone who you trust.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need assistance.

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