Any time you go through a major life event, you should revisit your estate planning documents. This can include a new job, a marriage, or the birth of children. Of course, it is also critical to examine your estate plan after divorce. This life event can have a major impact on the future for which you are planning.
Once you get a divorce, you need to think about all aspects of your estate planning. This includes money, but it also involves other areas of your life. You are going from planning for a future with your spouse to one without him or her. You should work with an attorney to ensure all of your documents are in place and up-to-date.
Medical and Financial Decision-Making
It’s crucial to address decision-making in your estate plan after divorce. You may have powers of attorney that name your spouse to make choices on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This makes sense when you are married. The person with whom you spend your life shares interests in these areas.
When you get a divorce, this changes. You need to look at whom to trust with your finances. If something happens to you, you may not want your former spouse to have access to your bank accounts. Even if you trust him or her, there may be someone else you want in that role.
Similarly, a living will and power of attorney may put your former spouse in charge of medical decisions. This puts a former spouse, as well as your family and loved ones, in a potentially awkward position. Your estate plan after divorce should include revisiting that choice. Look at your documents and ensure they reflect who you want in that role now.
Beneficiaries of Your Estate
After making sure your future representation makes sense, look at your beneficiaries. When married, your will probably named your spouse as your primary beneficiary. Your estate plan after divorce should address this. You may want to name children, family members, or someone else. Unless you change it, your former spouse may remain in line to receive most of your estate.
Even if you do not have children, review your beneficiaries. You might name parents, siblings, or even friends. You do not want to assume the divorce itself will prevent your spouse from receiving your estate. Take the time to revisit and revise the documents.
Arrangements for Children
If you have children, more is at stake. Your last will and testament may designate who will care for your children if you pass away. The decision you made when you were married may be different now. Your estate plan after divorce will require you to decide whom you really want caring for your children. If you want to change the people who will be your children’s guardians to a grandparent, new spouse, or someone else you trust, you need to address this. Of course, these decisions may be affected by the outcomes of the divorce and who makes the decisions for the kids.
Ideally, you will work with your former spouse on these decisions. Adjusting your estate plan after divorce affects both of you. Whether you are aligned or not, you need experienced legal representation to help. These issues are difficult, and you should not go it alone. Contact Ogborne Law today for help preparing your estate plan after divorce.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.