Estate Planning When Divorced or Widowed

Serving Individuals throughout Pleasanton, California and the Surrounding Areas

Whether due to divorce or death, you are now single again. Estate planning when divorced or widowed covers many changes.

You may have children and even grandchildren. In any event, you need to create (or revisit) your estate plan.

A major concern following divorce or death involves planning for incapacity. Did you know the law requires every adult American to make his or her own personal, financial and health care decisions? Who would make your basic decisions if you are legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness?

Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. The probate court process to accomplish this (referred to as a conservatorship) is lengthy and expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record, and is a real hassle for your loved ones.

Then we have to face the reality that we will all die at some point. Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your loved ones and assets. It also often involves a court process called probate, a burdensome, public, expensive process to transfer property out of deceased person’s name.

What if you remarry? Well, if you want to risk losing about half of what you have should the remarriage not work out and disinheriting your own children and grandchildren, then do nothing. If you are smart, you will consider the challenges that come with blended families and prepare your estate plan accordingly by working with a qualified Bay Area estate planning attorney.

As you can see, planning for being single again includes planning for any new relationships on the future, while preserving (and protecting) the relationships you already have.

Fortunately, we can help you protect your assets, avoid probate, and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences, and make sure everything flows together in an integrated fashion.