Whether you are going through a divorce or have just dissolved your marriage, it is essential to revise your estate plan to adjust things according to your changed circumstances. You need to rethink your estate planning goals and revise your plan with new documents. If you put off updating your estate plan, there is a chance your former spouse may inherit your assets. If your ex-spouse gets married again, their new spouse and children may inherit your estate after you pass away.
Update your Trusts and Wills
The first thing you should do after getting a divorce is to make alterations to your trusts and wills that reflect your changed situation. If your spouse is listed as a beneficiary, you should remove their name. In case you haven’t made a trust or will yet, you should consider getting one now, or otherwise your ex-spouse may be entitled to receive some of your assets and property after death.
If you have children and their custody has been given to your former spouse, you may want to leave their names in the beneficiary list. However, you may have to consult your estate planning attorney regarding changing the terms so that your assets go directly to your children and not through your former spouse.
Update your Power of Attorney
If you have a power of attorney in which you have named your ex-spouse as your agent, you should consider changing this designation immediately. If you don’t make changes and become incapacitated, your ex-spouse will have control over making decisions regarding your health and finances on your behalf. That is why it is important to revoke and replace your powers of attorney with updated estate planning documents.
Designate Guardians for your Children
If you have won partial or full custody of your children, you need to plan for their care in the event you become disabled or pass away due to an illness or accident. In such cases, if there are no designated guardians, the custody will be given back to your ex-spouse. Sometimes, people are okay with this, but what if your former spouse is incapable of raising your children? To prevent custody of your children from reverting back, you should nominate guardians who will care for your children after you.
You must also consider changing the designated beneficiary on your retirement accounts, life insurance policy, transfer-on-death accounts, and pay-on-death accounts. For this purpose, you will have to get new documents from your employer, bank, and insurance company holding your insurance policy. Fill out the documents and submit them promptly.
No one plans for a divorce when getting married, but certain circumstances lead couples to making this harsh decision. It is best that you hire an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you understand the changes you need to make your estate plan post divorce and help you carry them out. For more information, contact the Law Office of John C. Grundy at 330.637.9030 or online to schedule your consultation today.