Chances are if you are reading this, you are going through a divorce or already have. Either way, you know that the situation is not easy. Divorces come with many emotions and starting the task of updating your information after a divorce can seem daunting. However complicated or amicable your situation may be, the best step to take post divorce is to update your estate plan. While this may seem like it’s a tedious task during what could be a tough time, imagine if your ex-spouse still had access to your assets if something happened to you? If you aren’t so friendly with your ex-spouse this could be a real nightmare for your loved ones. Whether you have an existing estate plan that was started with your ex-spouse, or you want to create one now that you are starting a new chapter, here are the estate planning documents to update after divorce.
Estate Planning Documents to Update After Divorce
Last Will and Testament
Some state laws may vary, but a will typically remains in effect until you’re divorced. Drafting a new Will post divorce, with a stipulation that you are revoking your prior will, is a great way to start fresh. You most likely don’t want your now ex-spouse to remain in control of your estate if anything were to happen to you, so with a new Will you can grant new beneficiaries and wishes for your children or assets.
Power of Attorney
For financial matters if you had your spouse named to be in charge, they would have the power to handle your financial affairs, which may no longer be in your best interest. Changing your financial power of attorney may be done before divorce so if you feel you need to appoint someone else to this responsibility then take action asap.
A new living trust should be established after your divorce. If you had a living trust established prior to divorce, then your ex-spouse may still have control of your assets if anything happened to you. One of the main factors to consider with your trust is whether or not you have children who will be named beneficiaries. Also if any assets were agreed to be gifted to your ex-spouse as a part of your divorce, then there are considerations to be taken to potentially include this in your trust.
Advanced Health Care Directives
Like your financial power of attorney, your healthcare power of attorney most likely names your ex-spouse as decision maker. Changing your health care directives may be done before your divorce is final, and depending on your situation, may not be a bad idea in case anything were to happen to you so your soon to be ex-spouse isn’t in control of your medical care.
We are here for you to help you start this next chapter. Contact us to see how we can help. If you’re in Illinois or Wisconsin we can help with your estate planning documents pre or post divorce to make sure you’re protected as you start your new journey.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.