There is a lot involved with getting a divorce, and for much of the process, you will need the help of an estate planning attorney. This is especially true if you have children with the person you are separating from.
While married to the person you once loved, there may have been essential documents signed. These documents could determine the outcome of many things in the event something should happen to you. With a divorce looming, you’ll want to make sure the names on those documents are changed. After all, you don’t still want your ex-spouse being the heir to your assets, do you?
As an estate planning attorney working with couples in the midst of a divorce, I can help to clarify which important documents may need updating. Here are some:
Do you have a 401k? An IRA? A stock portfolio? A second beach house that you use as a rental?
These are all considered assets and will be handed down to whomever it is you list as your beneficiary to those items. Many times, when these accounts are first initiated, a spouse is listed as the beneficiary.
If you’re getting a divorce, you certainly don’t want your assets being handed down to your ex. Make sure you speak with an estate planning attorney promptly to have these documents addended.
Life Insurance Policy
The same situation typically arises here, where a divorcee forgets to change the recipient of their life insurance policy. Automatic, recurring payments could play a part in this being overlooked but if you have been paying into your policy and don’t want the wrong person to reap the rewards, be sure to update the beneficiary.
As an experienced estate planning attorney, I have assisted many divorcing couples in updating their healthcare proxies.
A healthcare proxy is someone who is given the control over your medical decision-making should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself. For example, if you are in an accident and are unable to communicate or make decisions on your own, your healthcare proxy is then given the power to make those decisions for you. Unless you want this decision-maker to be your ex, I would suggest having this switched immediately.
Power of Attorney
Just as your healthcare proxy has say over your medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so, your Power of Attorney is someone given access to your financial decisions. Given that you have just gone through many legal battles with them through the divorce, forgetting to revoke their status as your power of attorney could lead them to make bad financial moves on your behalf.
Will and Trust
Most married couples name their spouse as the executor of the will, giving control over how your estate will be dealt with upon your passing. While some couples might part ways amicably and the trust is still there to take care of affairs after passing, this may not always be the case. Keeping your will and trust up to date is another important way an estate planning attorney can help.
Are You in Need of an Estate Planning Attorney?
There are many changes that will need to be made to your most important documents. As an experienced estate planning attorney after divorce, I am here to help. Tell me more about your situation by using this contact form.