If you have gone through the difficult process of divorce, you know how difficult the process has been. You may be focused on the next steps of your life, but you need make sure you secure and update your will or estate plan to reflect the new reality of your life.
Your divorce decree may already revoke your former spouse as the beneficiary of your assets, but you need to ensure you have updated all your documents. You will need to make some major changes to your estate plan, and at least in the following ways:
Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives:
If you have a Durable Power of Attorney, you may have put major financial decision making in the hands of your former spouse. Similarly, your Advance Directive may give your former spouse decision making or end of life decisions on your behalf. You have to change these documents in order to change the person who can make decisions for you when you cannot.
Wills and Trusts
You probably want to change both the beneficiaries to your estate, but also the executor or trustee to your estate. The person who manages your estate is just as important as who gets your property. You can make an amendment to your will or trust, but sometimes if it is complicated, you may need to re-draft your estate plan entirely.
Other than updating the beneficiaries in your estate plan or your will, you may also need to change the beneficiary designations. Just updating your will or trust is not enough if you have not changed who gets the proceeds of your life insurance, annuity, 401k or other accounts. You need to be careful about doing this so as not to unintentionally benefit your former spouse.
Guardianship Provision s
If you have children, you must name a guardian in your will. The other parent will almost certainly become the sole guardian if they survive you, but you absolutely need to have a plan in place in the event that the other parent is also deceased.
Many things need to change when you are divorcing, and you should consult with someone who has a strong understanding of both divorce law and estate planning. Contact Alexander Roome at the Corey Law Group for assistance in your estate plan.