For a wills and trusts attorney, the most common piece of advice for his/her clients is to review the estate plan every time there is a life-changing event such as a birth, death, marriage, and divorce. That advice is more crucial than ever in 2020, as these moments — particularly divorce — have intensified due to what has become the greatest life-changing event across the world: COVID-19.
In the first few months since the Coronavirus was declared a pandemic in the U.S., interest in divorce shot to 34% higher than in 2019, with 31% of couples citing irreparable damage to their relationships due to the lockdown.
But in 2020, there’s more than just the stress of legal battles, paperwork, and adjusting to a life without a former spouse (and the emotions that may come with it). An already contentious environment now has more complications because of COVID-19, such as unemployment, illness, homeschooling, and financial strain.
In the midst of it all, it’s common to forget one of the most important post-divorce practices: updating your estate plan.
Without a careful review of your estate plan following divorce, your former spouse may end up with something you no longer intend for him or her to have. It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, a holding in a real estate venture, or a priceless heirloom.
The following are some of the most common provisions to review following a divorce, but it is important to review your plan in its entirety with your estate planning attorney, as every estate plan is uniquely created for the individual who executed it.