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How Can Divorce Impact Your Estate Plan in New Jersey?

A divorce can impact many aspects of an individual’s life. Splitting assets between two spouses can be an especially challenging task, particularly if the relationship did not end on good terms. When these situations arise, an estate planning attorney can be enormously beneficial. 

Newly divorced individuals need to make sure every little part of their estate plan is thoughtfully and thoroughly revised. Creating a new estate plan for yourself as a single person will help to avoid any uncertainties or unnecessary legal challenges after the divorce is settled.

What Changes Need to Be Made After Divorce?

In order to update and finalize a new estate plan, some important documents need to be revised. To start, you need to revoke your will. By doing this, your ex-spouse will not be able to receive any of your assets if something happens to you. Besides the financial aspect of a will, If minor stepchildren (those who were not the biological offspring of the couple divorcing) were a part of the household, you might want to designate a new guardian to raise those kids if something were to happen to you. 

Yet another important aspect you would want to address is your healthcare. Specifically, you should review life insurance policies to make sure none of your assets or health decisions can be made by your former spouse. In your healthcare proxy, your now ex-spouse was most likely appointed to make medical decisions if you were unable to make them for any reason. A new trusted adult will need to fill this role. All of these changes will protect your assets, children, and you.

Naming New Beneficiaries

Your beneficiaries will receive all your assets from your will or trusts. Naming a new beneficiary if your ex-spouse was your beneficiary prior to the divorce is a critical first step in changing your estate plan. Updating other parts of your overall plan involves changing beneficiaries in documents like retirement funds and bank accounts. 

If applicable, the state of New Jersey provides in-state pension plans to request documents showing who beneficiaries are, in case they need to be updated. Divorce would be one such reason to update these benefits. Moreover, according to the NJDPB, “For loss of health insurance coverage due to divorce, dissolution of a civil union, or legal separation, your former spouse or partner is entitled to continue participation in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) or School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) under the provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) for a period not to exceed 36 months.” 

Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to act on one’s behalf. If you need to revoke an already-created power of attorney or create one for the first time, it’s best to consult with an attorney to make sure that everything is done in accordance with the law. If an ex-spouse filled this POA role during a relationship that is now legally dissolved, a new, trustworthy person should be named when revising the estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney will help you review the candidates you are considering so that you designate the right person. 

In New Jersey, the power of attorney can take effect immediately upon signing the document or after the principal is incapacitated. At Rosenblum Law, an attorney can help you evaluate which approach is best for your situation.


Determining the guardianship of the child or children you share is an important part of an estate plan after a divorce. Most parents believe this is the most important aspect in order to ensure their kids are kept safe and raised as you would want them to be. Circumstances during and after the marriage will help the court to determine a plan for custody – full or joint – of minor children. And if one parent passes away, the person designated in the will as guardian will carry out their duties as a full custodial parent unless deemed unfit by the court. 

How Can an Attorney Help?

An attorney can help guide you through all aspects of creating or revising an estate plan after a divorce. Your divorce attorney and estate attorney may work together to completely redefine your documents to keep your ex-spouse from accessing any of your assets. They may also work in tandem to figure out guardianship for any children affected (step or biological). 

Rosenblum Law has decades of estate planning experience. To contact us, call us at 888-512-3828 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation with someone on our team.


What types of things should I change after a divorce?

Some documents in your estate plan that you should change after a divorce are your will, trust, power of attorney, guardianship designate, and healthcare proxy. 

How can a power of attorney help when going through a divorce?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows another person to act on someone’s behalf to handle financial matters. For example, they may be tasked with paying a mortgage, rent, or medical bills. After a divorce, you will likely want someone other than an ex-spouse to fill this role if something happens to you.

Why should I update and name a new healthcare proxy?

Especially in a difficult divorce, you won’t want your ex-spouse to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Instead, you should designate a new, trusted adult to assume this role.

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