Updating estate plans during and after a divorce is often the last thing someone feels like dealing with. However, it’s a vital step in the process. It will provide peace of mind and closure.
If you delay or avoid updating your plan, your assets could end up being distributed to your ex-spouse after you pass away. These steps will ensure your estate plan is updated and reflects your wishes.
Update Your Will
Laws vary by state, but in many cases, the information in the will still stands as valid after divorce, so it’s important to create a new will. After all, would you want your ex-spouse to inherit something from your estate?
Most planning processes start with revoking your current will. Assuming your ex-spouse was listed as executor, update the will with new details:
If you named your ex as durable power of attorney, this means you gave them access to all of your accounts and assets — including present-day assets in your name.
If you’re not sure how you named them, check with your estate planning lawyer and they’ll help you figure it out. Regardless, you’ll still want to change power of attorney by:
Update Healthcare Proxy
In most marriages, the spouse can make healthcare decisions in case of an accident, emergency or serious illness as power of attorney or healthcare proxy. For example, if you get in a car accident and sustain serious injuries and are sent to the hospital, unable to make decisions or communicate, the spouse would have authority to make decisions on your behalf.
During or immediately after a divorce, it’s imperative that you name a new proxy — someone who you trust and respect.
Name New Guardian for Minors
If you’re a parent of a child under age 18, you’ll likely want to name a new guardian in the event that you or your ex-spouse pass away or are unfit to raise the child.
Note: If you don’t want your ex-spouse to raise your children if you pass away simply for personal reasons, this can’t be prevented. Then it’s a matter of custody, which is a different topic. However, naming a guardian can provide peace of mind in the event neither you or your spouse can raise the child.
Are you in the midst of a divorce or dealing with the aftermath? The SLN Law team is here to help you update your estate plan. Contact us today!