Divorce marks a transformative chapter in life, requiring important adjustments in various areas, including estate planning. Post-divorce, it’s important to revisit your estate plan. Revisions are necessary to reflect your new status and make sure that your wishes are accurately reflected and your assets are distributed pursuant to your wishes.
In this post, we will discuss the estate planning documents that should be updated after your divorce.
Change your advance directives
When undertaking estate planning, it is customary to create essential documents such as a living will and healthcare surrogate. Typically, spouses appoint each other as their designated agents to make crucial healthcare decisions in the event of incapacitation.
After a divorce, it’s difficult to trust your ex-spouse with these responsibilities. So, it is essential to update your legal documents and designate someone you completely trust to handle these matters instead.
Update your Power of Attorney
If you have previously executed a power of attorney, it grants significant authority to another individual regarding your personal and financial matters during your lifetime. In the event that your ex-spouse is currently named as your agent in the power of attorney, it is crucial to revoke it and execute a new one, designating a person whom you trust to act as your agent instead.
Updating your Power of Attorney will give you full control over your assets. Most importantly, managing personal and financial affairs will be easier.
Amend your Will and Trust
It is common for couples to appoint their partner as the executor of their will and list them as a beneficiary. But, this is not a great idea post-divorce. It is better to remove your ex-spouse’s involvement in the decision-making process related to your assets after reviewing and modifying your will carefully.
Similarly, if you have established a trust where your ex-spouse serves as the trustee or is named as a beneficiary, it is crucial to make the necessary amendments to remove their involvement.
Guardianship of your minor children
If you don’t trust your ex-spouse’s guardianship ability for your minor children, you should look into the matter and make necessary changes for the well-being of your children. One option is setting up a trust to protect your children's assets.
You can hire a trustee to manage the funds by placing the assets in the trust. This prevents your ex-spouse from accessing certain funds and ensures responsible financial management for your children.
Consult a new Estate Planning Lawyer
After your divorce, it is highly recommended to collaborate with an estate planning lawyer to thoroughly assess and revise your existing documents or create new documents. It is preferable to engage an estate lawyer who has no affiliation with your former spouse.
Keep your divorce decree and settlement agreement easily accessible, as the estate lawyer will require them to assess your future requirements effectively. Working with an estate lawyer ensures your documents align with your new circumstances and protects your interests moving forward.
Post-divorce estate planning is a proactive measure that safeguards your assets, preserves family relationships, and ensures that your wishes are fulfilled. By addressing the necessary changes and working with professionals who specialize in this area, you can move forward with confidence, knowing that your estate plan aligns with the new chapter in your life.