In many divorce cases, both parties undergo significant material and financial changes. This generally occurs after dividing assets and determining spousal and/or child support. When this happens, it can have a substantial impact on either party’s estate plan.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is any legal action a person takes regarding their property, finances, and medical wishes. When creating an estate plan, you should include:
- instructions for how, and to whom, you would like your assets passed;
- care instructions for how you would like to be treated, should you become incapacitated;
- the name of a legal guardian for any minor children;
- provisions for family members with special needs; and/or
- instructions for the transfer of any businesses you own.
Why Should I Update My Estate Plan?
Married couples commonly add their partners as beneficiaries to certain estate assets, as well as name them as their health care proxy in any advanced health care directives. Unless you and your former spouse remain on extremely good terms, you may want to bequeath these roles to other family members. In addition, if you hold any joint trusts or wills with your former spouse, you should void them after the divorce.
You should consider updating your:
- trust agreement;
- life insurance;
- advanced directives; and/or
- power of attorney.
What Happens If I Don’t Update My Estate Plan?
If you decide to not update your estate plan, your former spouse will continue to hold a position of authority in your life. For example, if they are named as your health care proxy and something happens to you that renders you temporarily unable to make healthcare decisions, your former spouse will be the person legally permitted to do so.
Helping You Protect Your Assets
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