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What to change in your will after a divorce

A divorce comes with a long to-do list. You may have to worry about a new living situation, reduced budget and completely different schedule. The paperwork never seems to end even when your divorce is final. All these alone add enough stress to life after divorce.

However, one thing you should add to the list is updating (or completely rewriting) your will. In the unfortunate event of your passing, you want your will to reflect your current circumstances and wishes. The following are a few areas you should change.


When you were married, your ex likely was a major beneficiary of your estate. Now that you are no longer together, you must consider if you still want to include your former spouse in your will. You can either change what he or she receives or remove your ex as a beneficiary altogether. If you have remarried, you may also want to include your new family in the will.


Did you appoint your former spouse as the executor of your estate or grant him or her power of attorney? You may want to reconsider letting your ex represent you and your estate in important financial matters. Likewise, you may want to name someone else as your health care proxy in a living will or advance directive if you gave your ex that role.


Once you are gone, whom do you want to be the legal guardian of your children? It may or may not be your ex. Discuss with an estate planning attorney your options for guardianship to ensure the legality of your wishes so the court respects them. Guardianship not only applies to any minor children you have, but also to adult children with special needs.

Remember to review all your estate plans, such as trusts, as well. Although life as a divorcee may be overwhelming for a while, you can at least have peace of mind that your will expresses your changed end-of-life decisions.

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