Estate planning considerations after a divorce | Estate Planning Daily 028

Hey everybody, it’s Christopher Small from CMS Law Firm. Back again to talk to you about some estate planning.

Before we dive in though, the things that I’m talking about today are going to be great. They’re going to apply to you potentially, and your situation. But, if you want sort of an individual touch, if you want to know how your own values, and needs, and goals, and things like that relate to estate planning. I want to encourage you to go and check out a short little video that I made called … it’s not called anything, it’s at

It kind of gives you a run through of all the basics, the things that everybody should need, some of the considerations to think about when you are thinking about what you’re going to put together for your estate plan. It kind of gives you a broad overview about what estate planning is, all right? Please go check it out, you can click the link below as well and it will just pop up. I think it’s probably going to … it’s probably like 20, 25 minutes long. It’ll give you a lot of information that you’re probably out there looking for if you’re watching a video like this.

In any event, I wanted to talk about this, I haven’t talked about it in a while if ever, here on Facebook Live on particular. But, I wanted to talk about what happens when you get divorced, and the estate planning considerations that you have to take into account, and things that you need to do to make sure that you are taken care of, to make sure that your family is taken care of, and to make sure that everything actually works the way that you want it to. Because, some things are taken care of by the law, some things are not. It’s really important to know what the differences are, because there can be some really, really huge unintended consequences if you’re not careful.

If you are newly divorced and watching this, I’d highly encourage you to talk to someone about your estate plan, to consider putting together an estate plan. Particularly if you have kids, because now there’s a whole different dynamic that’s in play because you’re going to have your ex spouse that’s there, you’re going to have the kids, and the money is probably not going to flow the normal way that it would have, which would have been to the spouse and then to the kids. Now you’re probably going to be sending everything straight to the kids if something happens to you, which means there are a lot more different things to take into account, and decisions to make as far as how that money is used, and managed, and overseen so that it provides the maximum opportunity for your family. Which is what I would I want to make sure is happening for my family, divorced or not, right?

Let’s talk about it real quick.

First things first. If you are getting divorced, or if you have completed a divorce, one of the first things that you really want to go check are all of the beneficiary designations on all of your accounts. I’m talking about retirement accounts, I’m talking about life insurance policies, I’m talking about brokerage accounts, stock accounts, things like that. If you … Because, most of the time our default is our spouse. And so, you probably checked the box and sat that up a way long time ago not even thinking about it, right?

Well now that things are not the same anymore with your relationship, unless you want that money or those things to go to your ex spouse, you’re going to want to go and update those and change those so that they go to the right people. Even if it’s to your kids, because as of right now if you have your spouse as your beneficiary on your life insurance policy for example and something happens to you, all that money is just going to them. And, they’re going to be able to do whatever they want with it, which means they’re probably not going to use it for something that you want, right? Not to make light of divorce, but right? I mean, the relationship is ending. That means that there must be some sort of a not seeing eye to eye on something, right? That’s probably step one.

When it comes to estate planning, there are some built in considerations, which are nice. But, you still may want to rethink the way that you’ve structured things, the way that things flow so that they work properly. The first thing that you need to know is that, once you’re actually divorced, so when the divorce is final, the law states and applies this idea that your ex spouse has died before you when it comes to all of these documents. Let’s say you have a will and it goes spouse first, then the kids, and the divorce is final. The decree has entered, it’s all done.

From that moment forward, if you die and they go to the will and look, and it still says everything goes to your ex spouse. The world, the courts, the law is going to treat it as if your spouse had died before you, which means that everything would go to the next level. Which, if you have kids, means it would probably go to your kids.

Same thing applies with the power of attorney, with all of those things, okay? When you are divorced for all of these estate planning documents, it’s treated as if your spouse has died before you, which means they’re not in the picture for all these documents.

With that being said, you want to now make sure that your backup, your first backup after your ex spouse is now actually the person that you want. Often, spouses will pick the same people, right? You may have picked one of your spouses family members to be your backup, and you may not want to have that be like that anymore now that things have changed with the relationship.

Another consideration that you really want to make is, how the money is now, your assets are now going to flow to your kids if something happens to you.

I just talked to a new client yesterday who was going through a situation like this, and he has young kids. I think they are like 11 and nine, okay? Now, he’s got to think about, well if something happens to me, I definitely want all of my assets to go to my kids. But, I don’t want them to just go straight to my kids, and when they turn 18 have them get a check for the balance of their share of my estate. Which means, we need to do some things, which really means some trust planning, right? Some basic trust planning.

And by the way, if you’re wondering, what the heck is a trust, this power of attorney? These things I’m talking about. If you go to it’s literally like a masterclass on the estate planning foundation. I teach you all the basics, I teach you all the things that you want to think about, I teach you all the things that kind of come into a plan, and I talk about some of the things that aren’t included with some of the decisions that are made. Because, it’s important to just be making informed decisions. Go check that out, it’s free. You go to The video just pops up right there, and you can just watch it. So, super simple.

But, now that you are divorced, you may want to create a simple trust so that if something happens to you, the assets that are going to your children, they’re getting some oversight, some management, some help, you know? So that your assets can be used to their maximum capability, to provide the best opportunity for your kids, right?

Okay, that’s kind of it, you know? I think at the end of the day, just it’s important to know that if you are getting divorced, or if you have finalized your divorce, there are some really important considerations to make and some decisions to make to ensure that you are taken care of properly, and to ensure that your family is taken care of properly. Something that is often overlooked, and it’s one of those things like estate planning is generally, it’s important but not urgent, and it doesn’t matter until it matters. Make it matter today, right? Make it important. Go watch that, If you want to talk to me I’d be happy to talk to you. I do free strategy sessions. We run through what your specific needs and goals are, give you some ideas. If you want to work with me, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s okay too.

All right, so that is it. If you have any questions, please, please, write them below. You can message me too, by the way. You can always private message me here on Facebook, you could email me. You can set up a time to talk, do whatever you want.

If you liked this video though, if you got something out of it, if it made sense to you and you learned something. Please, just hit that like button. If you know someone that’s maybe going through a situation like this and they haven’t thought about these things and they need to, please share this video with them. Or, just shoot them a quick message and say, “Hey, go look at CMS Law Firm’s Facebook page. There’s a video there that you might want to watch. It’s on divorce.” That way they can do it on the down low, right?

Otherwise, thank you again for your time, and I will be here again to talk to you tomorrow. Bye.