Divorce holds significant implications not only for your future but also for your assets and loved ones, as well. You may be ready to turn on a new page and move on with your post-divorce life, but there is one more thing you need to remember: You absolutely need to update your estate plans.
Of course, the last thing you want to do after finalizing your divorce is to deal with more legal work – and this is understandable. However, if you do not take the time to revise your estate plan in light of your change in circumstance, your ex might retain powers you no longer wish they had or inherit assets against your wishes.
This is exactly the kind of situation you are likely to run into if you do not update your estate plan following a divorce. Where should you start? Try these suggestions:
The beneficiary designations
Most people designate their spouses as the designated beneficiaries of various assets such as bank accounts, life insurance policies and other assets, so update all of these.
If you have a living trust, you might transfer these assets to your trust, especially if you have young children. Otherwise, the beneficiaries who are minors will require a guardian, and the court might appoint your ex-spouse for this role.
The powers of attorney
It is not unusual for spouses to give each other powers of attorney. A power of attorney is an important estate planning tool because it allows you to appoint someone to make important decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. But, if that person is your ex, you probably want to revise.
For instance, if you gave your spouse a financial power of attorney, it is in your best interest that you revoke that power as soon as it is apparent that you are headed for a divorce.
An estate plan allows you to document your wishes with respect to your future, assets and loved ones. If the object of your affection has changed, it is important that you review and update your estate plan to reflect this change.