Estate planning in the face of a divorce

Californians may have seen a recent article that discussed the financial implications of divorce, especially for women. Whether male or female, divorce usually constitutes a major life shift, and though there are plenty of considerations one has to take into account during this time, there may be no more important objective than maintaining financial well being.

In the long run, thinking about financial and estate planning before and during a divorce can help people reach and maintain stability for themselves and future generations after the divorce. During the period of a divorce is actually a smart time to revisit a person's estate plan and can help people make the most of their assets after a spouse has taken part of that share.

For example, a person will likely want to change his or her life insurance and various trusts beneficiaries or trustees if the ex-spouse was named in such a position. While an ex-spouse can be automatically disqualified from becoming the beneficiary in some situations, it is important that a person take the precaution to change the beneficiary status on his or her policies and estate documents after a divorce.

California is community property state, which means that, in general, half of all marital assets are split evenly between each divorcing spouse. Marital property can include things such as pensions, retirement benefits, insurance, stocks and other business holdings.

With so much potentially being split and divided, a person going through a divorce may be concerned about providing and leaving anything for his or her heirs. While it may be the case that there is less to go around after a divorce, that does not mean that one's financial estate has to suffer. An experienced estates and trusts attorney can help people adjust their estate for maximum efficiency after a divorce.

Source: Forbes,"Three Types of Financial Mistakes Divorcing Women Make (And How to Avoid Them)," Jeff Landers, Nov. 27, 2012

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