Estate Planning During Divorce

Estate Planning ActionsAuthority
1.- What Can I Do Unilaterally?
a. Create, modify, or revoke a will.Fam C §2040(b)(1)
b. Create, but not fund, a new single settlor revocable or irrevocable trust.Fam C §2040(a)(2), (b)(4)
c. If in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, transfer, encumber, hypothecate, conceal, or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate.Fam C §2040(a)(2)
d. Execute and file a disclaimer.Fam C §2040(b)(5)
2.- What Changes Can I Make With Notice To My Spouse Or RDP?
a. Revoke a revocable trust.
Notice must be filed and served on the party before the change takes effect. Follow revocation terms of trust exactly.
Fam C §2040(b)(2), (d)(1)
b. Revoke a transfer to the beneficiary of a "nonprobate transfer."
Notice must be filed and served before the change takes effect. A "nonprobate transfer" includes primarily individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and life insurance. (Note: You can only revoke life insurance if child support or spousal support is not at issue under Fam C §2040(a)(3).)
Fam C §2040(b)(2), (d)(1)
c. Eliminate a right of survivorship for property (joint tenancy or community property with right of survivorship).
Notice must be filed and served on the other party before the change takes effect.
Fam C §2040(b)(3)
3.- What Changes Can I Make Only With My Spouse or RDP's Consent Or With A Court Order?
a. Transfer, encumber, hypothecate, conceal, or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life.Fam C §2040(a)(2)
b. Create a "nonprobate transfer" or modify a "nonprobate transfer" in a manner that affects the disposition of property subject to the transfer.
A "nonprobate transfer" includes, but is not limited to, revocable trusts, pension plans, employee benefit plans, IRAs, and life insurance. (Note: Pension plan beneficiaries are controlled by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) (29 USC §§1001-1461), and the nonparticipant spouse is entitled to be the beneficiary under federal law.)
Fam C §2040(a)(4), (d)(1);
Prob C §5000
c. Fund a revocable or irrevocable trust.Fam C §2040(a)(2), (4); see also Fam C §2040(b)(4)
4.- What Changes Can I Make Only With A Court Order?
Funding, creating, or modifying a nonprobate transfer if the other spouse or RDP does not consent.Fam C §2040(a)(4), (d)(1)
5.- What Changes Can I Not Make?
Cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries on life, health, automobile, and disability insurance when child or spousal support is at issue.Fam C §2040(a)(3)