The Impact of Divorce on Estate Planning

As if there was not enough on your plate while going through a divorce, your estate planning is one more thing to add to your “to-do” list. While it is most likely the last thing on your mind at the time, it is crucial to keep your estate in mind. Not keeping up with your estate documents could result in unnecessary chaos upon your passing.

Prior to filing for a divorce you have the freedom to change any of your estate documents. Once the divorce is filed, you no longer have that luxury. As soon as a divorce is filed, a restraining order is filed to prohibit both parties from committing certain acts. Some of these restraints will prohibit you from changing your estate documents while the divorce is pending.

Once the divorce is finalized, you will want to take action. Simply getting a divorce will not remove your ex-spouse as your beneficiary, that is up to you. It is important to note that some of the changes you want to make post-divorce may not be allowed. Your Divorce Decree may forbid you from removing you ex-spouse as your beneficiary. In some instances the Decree may require that you keep your ex-spouse as your beneficiary.

Some estate planning documents become naturally voided by filing for a divorce. If you had estate planning documents prepared during your marriage, the conclusion of your divorce may have altered the documents. For example, if you had a Power of Attorney prepared for your spouse, Ohio Law automatically revokes the ex-spouse’s privileges when the divorce is finalized. The same goes for your Will. Upon the completion of your divorce, Ohio Law automatically revokes any appointment to your ex-spouse unless otherwise stated. Failing to take the time to update these documents could be detrimental in the long run.

Speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney during the divorce process will be most beneficial in the long run. To speak with an experienced estate planning attorney at our firm contact Attorney Pete Kratcoski at or by phone at (330) 673-3444.