Kith & Kin

How to update your estate plans after a divorce

paper cutout of a broken heart hanging on wire after divorce.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When it comes to divorces, estate planning is often the last thing to come to mind for most couples. Amidst the legal stresses of child custody and asset division, there is the undeniable emotional stress that you have to contend with.

With everything going on, the estate planning process may seem like an unpleasant addition to your list. However, until your divorce has been finalized, the law still considers you to be legally married. This means that should anything happen to you before your divorce is concluded, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may still be legally entitled to most, if not all, of your estate.

It is therefore essential to update your estate plans as soon as you can. Whatever stage you of the divorce process you may be in now, here are things to consider when revising your estate plans:

1. Rewrite your will and trust after the divorce

Most likely, you have named your ex-spouse as executor of your will. You can then make changes by rewriting it and appointing a new executor.

In most states, provisions for the benefit of the spouse is considered void after a divorce, as if your ex-spouse has predeceased you. In other states, the whole will is revoked, but still, in some others, including in Singapore, the will remains in effect and the former spouse remains entitled to the inheritance.

Keep in mind also, that provisions for your ex-spouse’s relatives are not affected by the divorce, so the stipulations regarding them still stand. Some people also declare that they would like for the provisions of their spouse to be valid even after the divorce.

If these are among the things you would no longer wish to happen, make sure that you restart your estate planning process and update your will. In most cases, an estate planning lawyer will be of great help in reviewing the changes you would need to make on your estate plans after a divorce.

2. Reconsider estate plans for trust and guardianship for minor children

If you have minor children, your spouse (unless they are unfit) will most likely serve as their guardian in the event of your passing.

But if in case both you and your ex-spouse dies, it would be best that your children will go to the care of an appointed guardian whom you trust. As the one who will take care of your children, this person will be in charge of making all decisions that will affect their lives.

In a scenario where your ex-spouse is the only surviving parent, it is mandated that they will be the child’s guardian together with the guardian that you have appointed in your will.

Without a trust for minor children, your former spouse will have control over their finances until they reach the legal age. If this is something you are looking to prevent, one of the best estate planning tips is to make sure you appoint a trustee to take charge of your children’s assets until they turn 18.

3. Review your nominees for insurance benefits and CPF

Just like the will, CPF nominations are not revoked by divorce and should be considered in estate planning in Singapore. Depending on the type of nomination you have with insurance policies, your ex-spouse may or may not be entitled to the benefits.

Which is why a review of these is important in the estate planning process. It ensures that information on your preferred nominees are updated, and they will be the ones receiving your assets upon your passing.

4. Update your Lasting Power of Attorney after the divorce

At one point or another, you and your former spouse probably executed powers of attorney. An LPA allows a person to plan the management of another’s affairs in the event of a loss of mental capacity. Divorce revokes any LPA between former spouse, so it is important that you have a substitute for your LPA, or simply rewrite it altogether.

Divorce brings about changes and complications not just for the separating couple, but for their family as well.  This is why it is essential to understand what is estate planning and why it is important.

Estate planning allows you to carefully review how these changes should affect your loved ones in case you die. Marital statuses and circumstances may change, but providing for your family still remains a priority.

The estate planning process is a continuous undertaking due to constant changes in life situation and relationships. It is vital to revisit your estate plans from time to time to ensure that your stipulations reflect your most relevant intentions.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we pride ourselves on combining our up-to-date knowledge on Estate Planning Singapore with our corporate conviction to provide the best legal advice based on our client’s personal circumstances.

Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your estate planning requirements.