Complications that Divorce Creates with Wills and Trusts

Divorces are never easy. Not only can they take an emotional toll on you and your family, but they can also create some legal complications. You and your spouse have created a life together, and it can be difficult to untangle that life when you decide to divorce. This is especially true when it comes to financial and legal issues such as wills and trusts. Here are some issues you may encounter. 


It’s common for married couples to list their spouse as the primary beneficiary of their Will, and their financial accounts. When people divorce, they usually want to change who will inherit their assets—maybe to children or other relatives. It’s important to understand that divorce will not automatically remove your spouse as the primary beneficiary named in your estate plan.  A professionally drafted separation or divorce agreement may also determine when and how the parties can change their estate plans.  Once a divorce is final, it is important to meet with an attorney to amend or redo your Will or Trust, to remove your ex-spouse and avoid future complications.  If you have minor children, this may also be the time to consider a Trust, so that in the event that something happens to you, your children’s future is protected.  


A fiduciary is a person that you name to take specific actions on your behalf or behalf of your estate. Examples are the personal representative in your Will, the agents named in your Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, and any future guardians and trustees for your minor children. Most likely, while you were married, your spouse was named as the first agent in your Powers of Attorney and the personal representative in your Will, and it is possible that members of your ex-spouse’s family were named as guardians or trustees for your children.   

After a divorce, you may wish to remove your ex-spouse and their family members from these roles. This will involve amending, rewriting, or redoing your estate planning documents, to prevent your ex-spouse from legally claiming the right to be your fiduciary in the event of your incapacity or death. 


One of the most complicated aspects of a divorce is dividing property.  During the divorce process the court will divide your current assets between you and your ex-spouse.  If your Will  specifically listed any assets you individually owned to go to your spouse, you will have to change your Will to avoid that happening.  If you no longer own assets that you wanted to give to someone else in your Will, you will also need to consider that.   If you don’t, estate is liable to be unnecessarily complicated, and your new wishes not followed. 

We Make Redoing Your Estate Plan Easy

Here at DK Rus Law, we understand how difficult and complicated divorce can be. We make it easy to re-do your estate planning documents so that you can finally move on to the next chapter of your life. Get started now with a FREE consultation