Divorce is a difficult process and can drag on longer than most would like.
Because of the uncertain nature of divorce, it can be prudent to make changes to your estate plan while it's ongoing. You cannot write your soon-to-be ex-spouse out of your will but there are important issues you can address, such as:
Power of attorney
This is the most obvious thing you can address before finalizing your divorce. Even in an amicable separation, you don’t want your spouse to have the ability to make decisions on your behalf. With the power of attorney, they could throw a wrench in your affairs and create a giant legal headache.
If you have any children with your ex, you may want to include an alternative guardian. This doesn’t prevent the other parent from gaining custody of your children, but it gives courts an alternative option should anything happen to you. If the court rules the other parent unfit, your alternative guardian would gain care of your children.
Health care proxy
Someone making life-or-death decisions for their ex sounds like the setup of a joke. Unfortunately, if you do not update your health care proxy this can happen. Don’t leave your medical wishes to your ex-partner. Find a trustworthy health care proxy and make the switch.
Controlling what you can
Although California limits what you can do with regards to estate planning, it’s good to take a proactive approach. By changing what you can early in the divorce process, you minimize the chance of giving your ex unintended benefits.
A lot is left in limbo during a divorce. It can feel helpless to sit through the process. Changing parts of your estate plan can be a good way to fight this feeling while protecting yourself and your children. If you have any questions, a skilled estate attorney can help.