When thinking about a divorce, there are a multitude of matters to consider. Where are you going to reside outside of the marital home? How are you going to split custody of the children? How are you going to split assets? If you haven’t worked outside of the home, how are you going to make ends meet?
Divorces can clearly be complex, especially when unraveling assets and managing concerns with minor children.
One element of divorce law that is usually disregarded is estate planning and keeping estate documentation like a Power of Attorney up to date. Failure in updating these papers can have significant repercussions to your finances and your health.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is legal documentation that entitles someone besides yourself the authority to make financial decisions for you.
These decisions will comprise of things such as:
- Transactions for Real Estate
- Transactions for Estates
- Transactions for Insurance
- Claims and Litigation
- Transactions for Financial Institutions
- Government Program Benefits
- Tax Issues
The individual you name as having the authority to make these kinds of decisions on your behalf is known as your agent.
You can grant your agent authority without delay, or you can grant your agent the authority to act only should you become debilitated. Being debilitated means you cannot make decisions for yourself.
You are also able to restrict the authority you grant your agent or to grant your agent general authority for making any financial decisions on your behalf.
Sometimes, an individual may devise a Power of Attorney for a specific occasion like when they know that they are going to have a medical procedure performed and want to give another individual authority to act for them when they are under anesthesia. Or clients occasionally grant their lawyer the authority to act for them in signing legal documents when their client might be out of the country and unreachable.
Power of Attorney documentation can come in an assortment of options, but the heart of the matter is, this document is utilized to grant another individual the authority to act for you. This can be a useful device for managing your matters. Nevertheless, problems can come up when the individual you named as your agent is no longer someone you can trust.
Why is it Vital to Update a Power of Attorney Throughout a Divorce?
Even though most Americans are likely to not have an estate plan of any type including Power of Attorney documentation, for those that do have a properly carried out Power of Attorney, more often that not a spouse is the individual chosen to be their agent.
Usually, this won’t be a problem, until a couple is getting divorced.
When a couple gets divorced, some conditions such as a spouse’s portion of an estate in a will are instantly nullified. This is not going mean the entire will is nullified, just the part where the ex-spouse would take a portion of the estate.
Nevertheless, this isn’t true of a Power of Attorney. Rather, When you have granted your spouse the authority for making financial decisions for you, even though you’ve divorced your ex, they still have the authority to act on your behalf.
It’s possible that a divorced couple can remain trustworthy friends and not want to modify these legal arrangements. However, it is more possible that an individual going through a divorce would prefer their ex-spouse be unable to manage their financial matters.
In those cases, it is essential that the Power of Attorney gets revoked and a new one created, to guarantee that someone other than their ex is authorized to act as their agent.
How is a Power of Attorney Revoked?
The revoking of a Power of Attorney can be accomplished in a couple different ways. First, signed documentation can be devised declaring that a Power of Attorney has become revoked.
Second, any new Power of Attorney needs to state that all preceding such documents have been revoked. Nevertheless, it is good idea to specifically name the preceding Power of Attorney, the signing date, and the individual named as agent when clearly revoking that authority.
Furthermore, when your agent has documents giving them authority to act on your behalf, you are going to want to request that the documentation be returned so you can destroy it.
Occasionally, institutions also retain a copy of your Power of Attorney on file. It is vital to notify those institutions that the preceding Power of Attorney has become revoked.
When revoking a Power of Attorney, it is a good idea to guarantee that it gets replaced with a new one.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer For Assistance With a Divorce?
If you are enduring a divorce and have ever carried out a Power of Attorney granting your soon to be ex the authority in making decisions on your behalf, then speak with an experienced divorce lawyer locally. They are able to help guide you in getting up-t0-date in your estate documents, including the Power of Attorney.
Do not delay until your divorce decree gets finalized. Anything could occur in the time it will take for the judge to sign the decree. When it is critical to you that another individual be able to make decisions concerning your finances other than your soon to be ex, you are going to need to update those documents sooner than later.
LaMance, K. (2020, August 03). Power of attorney and divorce. Retrieved May 25, 2021, from https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/power-of-attorney-and-divorce.html
Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Arizona
Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring a divorce attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.