Estate Planning Tips for the Newly Divorced
Getting married can be one of the happiest days of some people’s lives. Unfortunately, human nature is not perfect, and some relationships, as many other things in life, do not work out. Divorce can certainly be an emotionally difficult time. That being said, after a divorce, it’s possible that your
Update Your Power of AttorneyAs most people do, you probably appointed your significant other as your agent to help make
decisions if you are in an accident or have become incapacitated. This document is also known
as health care proxy, which gives you the power to appoint a person of your choosing to help
make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Having your ex-partner as an
agent may or may not be the best choice, so, depending on your situation, it is best to update
your health care proxy to another trusted individual if you see the need. Similar to your health
care proxy, you probably have appointed your spouse as your agent through the durable power of
attorney. The durable power of attorney gives your spouse the authority to take care of financial
and legal matters if you are incapaicated. Your ex-spouse would have access to your bank
accounts and assets if they are your agent. This can also be a less than ideal situation, so it is
probably best that you revoke your previous power of attorney and draft a completely new one.
Update Your Will & TrustMost people also put their spouse as one of their beneficiaries that will receive their assets. If
that’s the case, you should consider changing your beneficiaries once the divorce is finalized.
This means removing your ex-spouse as the beneficiary or removing their title as executor, in the
case that you have a trust set up. However, you should know that if you wish to change the
designation of the beneficiary, you can not do so during the divorce. This is the case because
when you file for divorce, the court places restraining orders on all of your assets. If you wish to
change your beneficiary, you must do so after the divorce.
Guardianship Of A MinorIf you happen to have a child that is a minor, you are able to name your ex-partner as a guardian
of the child in your will. This is an option if you would want your child to be with their other
parent in the unfortunate circumstance that you pass away. However, even if you do not name
your ex-spouse as your child’s guardian, the court will most likely appoint them as such when if
pass away unexpectedly. In extreme cases, if you believe your ex-partner has a substance abuse
issue, you have the option to name another person for guardianship.
Hire A ProfessionalChanging your POA and making adjustments to your will often requires the help of a lawyer. We
recommend contacting a professional estate planning attorney who will be able to ensure that all
of your documents are completed correctly.