What Should I Reconsider In My Estate Plan If I’m Getting Divorced?
While many people realize that they will need to deal with child custody, support, assets, etc, if they get divorced, some do not realize that they will also need to address their estate plan. Many couples haven’t taken a look at their will and associated documents in some 10 years or more; regardless, if something happens before your divorce is official, failing to update your estate plan could prove devastating.
Below, we discuss what you want to update in your estate plan, at a minimum, if you are getting divorced:
Health Care Proxy
If you are in an accident and become incapacitated, your health care proxy names who will make healthcare decisions for you. Some individuals going through divorce no longer want this to be their spouse.
Power of Attorney
Keep in mind that a durable power of attorney provides your spouse with access to all of your accounts and assets—even those that are only in your name—if you become incompetent. Many people no longer want this to be the case if they get divorced, which means that you will need to work with your attorney to revoke that power of attorney, execute a new one, and, in some circumstances, provide notice to your spouse of this change (via your attorney).
It is important to note that the filing of a complaint for divorce places an automatic restraining order on your assets, which includes any beneficiary designations. This means that you cannot alter the designation of your life insurance, pensions, or retirement plans during divorce (not until the divorce is finalized).
You will likely want to work with your attorney to execute a new will so that your spouse is no longer the executor of your estate. You may also want to add in provisions regarding guardianship of your children if something happens to you.
You and your attorney will want to have an in-depth discussion about what the laws of your state dictate regarding what your spouse is entitled to receive. In most, you cannot disinherit them completely, or they can contest the will and possibly receive a certain percentage of your assets. Keep in mind that—if you entered into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement—that agreement may provide specific guidance regarding what your spouse is entitled to in the event of your death. You always want to ensure that your estate plan is in keeping with what is dictated in the prenup.
You will likely also want to amend your trust, if allowed by your state; especially if you have young children. Do you want your spouse to have access to any of these funds for your children? If not, if your spouse is your children’s guardian, they will have access to and control over your money in the event of your death.
Florida Divorce Lawyers Can Help
At the Arwani Law Firm, we know that divorce means making financial decisions that will affect you, your future, and your family. We provide that supportive, knowledgeable legal advice that you need in order to feel confident and prepared to attack the next step of your life.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you ensure that you and your assets are protected as you go through divorce. It is not only crucial that you visit your estate plan while you are getting divorced; but also after the divorce has been finalized.