If there is one thing that commonly goes overlooked when divorcing, it is an existing estate plan. After all, divorce is a major upheaval in the lives of all involved and most people have trouble dividing their focus. Worrying about estate planning documents is often the last thing on the minds of divorcing parties. However, it is critical to address these matters as soon as possible once a divorce is finalized.
Failing to attend to important documents included in an estate plan can put your assets at great risk. If you work with a family law attorney who also provides estate services, he or she will probably bring up these issues at some point during your consultations. Some of the advice family law attorneys often provide regarding post-divorce estate plan updates includes the following.
- Will updates: Now that you are no longer married, it is a good time to go over your will and make changes to the disposition of your property.
- Power of attorney: If you have previously named your ex-spouse as your power of attorney, you will want to choose another party and update your documents accordingly.
- Trusts: While certain types of trusts (e.g. irrevocable life insurance trust) cannot be changed, it is very wise to speak with a lawyer about your existing trusts during or after the divorce.
Other family law and estate planning topics to discuss with an attorney include health care directives, child custody/support and life insurance planning. Never forget that all states have their own laws regarding divorce and estate planning. Choosing a lawyer who is knowledgeable about all these issues will bring you and your family many benefits.
Source: The Balance, "5 Estate Planning Documents to Update When Getting a Divorce," Patti Spencer, accessed Dec. 07, 2017