California Bar Journal
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Self-Assessment Test
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Answer the following questions after reading the MCLE article on divorce and estate planning. Use the answer form provided to send the test, along with a $20 processing fee, to the State Bar. Please allow at least eight weeks for MCLE certificates to reach you in the mail.

1. If a divorcing spouse is ordered to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the former spouse, he or she should consider assigning the ownership of the policy to the former spouse named as the beneficiary.

2. A divorcing client should be advised to change the beneficiaries of his or her individual retirement accounts (IRAs) before judgment is entered.

3. A divorcing client should be advised to consider revoking IRA beneficiary designations at any early date.

4. A divorcing client should be advised to have a new will prepared as soon as the divorce proceeding is concluded.

5. If the parties hold property in a living trust, the trust should be revoked as soon as the divorce proceeding is over.

6. Joint tenancies should always be severed as early in the divorce proceeding as possible.

7. If you have performed estate planning services for both parties, you should not advise either party about estate planning issues during their divorce.

8. A divorcing party may revoke, but not change, a beneficiary designation naming the other spouse as the sole beneficiary of a 401(k) plan during the divorce.

9. To revoke a living trust, a written revocation must be signed by the settlor, acknowledged by a notary public and delivered to the trustees.

10. Revocation of a living trust automatically retransfers title to trust property to the parties.

11. Most wills and living trusts prepared by married couples in the pre-divorce stage of their marriage provide that virtually all of the assets pass to the surviving spouse on the death of either spouse.

12. The beneficiary designations of 401(k) plans and IRAs may both be revoked by the participant, acting unilaterally, during the divorce.

13. If an insurance policy is owned by one party and names the former spouse as beneficiary following the divorce, the insured's estate will pay the estate tax and the policy proceeds will pass to the former spouse as the beneficiary.

14. The written consent of the other party or an order of court is required before existing joint tenancies may be severed during divorce.

15. All discussions and decisions reached by a client regarding estate planning issues should be documented in writing.

16. The act of filing a divorce petition revokes a spouse's rights under the will of the other party.

17. If you have performed estate planning services for only one spouse, you may continue to represent and advise that spouse during the dissolution proceeding.

18. A judgment dissolving the status of the marriage revokes a surviving spouse's rights under a prior will.

19. A living trust may be executed and funded by either party during a divorce without the approval of the other party or the court.

20. To revoke an existing IRA beneficiary designation naming the other spouse is undesirable because doing so would subject the assets to probate administration.