Estate Planning




People often describe their wedding day as one of the happiest of their lives. However, sometimes happily-ever-after doesn’t last as long as it should and the day comes when dissolution papers are signed, assets dissolved, and households are split. This process of divorce can be emotionally draining, and people find themselves in some of their worst moments. No matter how long the process of divorce takes, when it’s over both parties just want to be done with the entire experience. The last thing you want is another checklist of items to take care of, but ignoring this particular one will have unpleasant consequences. So after you have either downed a bottle of supermarket wine or a carton of Ben and Jerry’s rum and raisin ice cream, grab your laptop and let’s handle these three items.

  1. Update the beneficiary designations of all your accounts that have your ex-spouse as your primary beneficiary. This includes retirement accounts (401ks, IRAs, profit-sharing plans, etc.), life insurance policies, and any pay-on-death accounts.

  2. If you owned joint-tenant property with your ex-spouse, make sure the joint tenancy has been severed. You do not want any surprises. I’ve heard stories where Ex-Spouse 1 expected Ex-Spouse 2 to handle “it.” Ex-Spouse 2 dropped the ball and Ex-Spouse 1 passed before realizing the mistake. Ex-Spouse 2 inherited the property. Not the intended consequence but too late to change it.

  3. Have your joint estate plan revoked and a new plan created. As part of the estate planning process, you most likely had documents such as advance health care directives and durable powers of attorney drafted appointing your ex-spouse as your agent to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf. Now that you are no longer married, he/she may no longer be the person you want making those important decisions on your behalf.

It is so easy to procrastinate on unpleasant tasks. However, as you can see above, this particular set of tasks should be handled as quickly as possible.


About the Law Office of Jan A. Meyer
The Law Office of Jan A. Meyer was founded in 2011 in Dana Point, California. It was established to provide clients with committed and compassionate estate planning services to assist with asset protection and strategic goals. Our law firm provides a personalized and cost-effective alternative to large law firms or self-guided online forms. At the Law Office of Jan A. Meyer, families and individuals are guided through a series of decisions to build a plan that ensures their financial and personal legacy are protected when they are no longer able to care for it. Learn more at