Updating Your Will And Estate Plan Post-divorce
There are many milestones in life that should inspire you to update your estate planning arrangements, including after a divorce. All your documents should reflect your marital status and new designated powers of attorney (financial, medical, trust). Some states use their own discretion in taking out former spouses from estate planning documents, however you are usually required to make updates.
If you are in the process of changing your estate planning documents, or possibly thinking about remarrying, consider reaching out to one of the best estate planning attorneys in Phoenix AZ. If there are children from your previous marriage, it may be wise to create a premarital agreement in order to ensure that the children will inherit your estate rather than a new spouse.
Important Documents You Should Update
- Will: You should create a new will revoking any reference to your now ex-spouse. If you were to pass away after a divorce without updating your will, your ex-spouse may be awarded your assets as the will states. There is no guarantee your children will inherit the assets stated in the will if this situation occurs.
- Revocable Trusts: A revocable living trust must be updated to keep your spouse from becoming a trustee or beneficiary of the trust. If the trust is irrevocable, you cannot change the beneficiary designation. Trusts established for your children should not require modification.
- Power of Attorney for Medical Care: You may wish to change this designation since this person has power to make medical decisions for you when you are incapacitated. An ex spouse may make decisions that you will regret, or, if they move away and cannot be reached, you may suffer further.
- Power of Attorney for Finances: Part of divorcing means dividing assets and property and becoming solitary owner. Having your ex spouse manage your finances should you die or become hurt can be extremely unwise. One should not always assume the worst out of others, but you should be careful with your finances. Naming a new person as your power of attorney for finances can be a wise and useful modification to make in your will.
- Designating a Beneficiary: Life insurance, pensions, investments, and bank accounts all have beneficiary designations that allow you to choose who inherits the assets after you die. If you fail to choose or change your beneficiaries, then your ex-spouse are legally entitled to that money by default when you pass away.
At the end of your marriage, it is wise to ensure your assets are given to the appropriate people. If you do not update your will, then your ex spouse will inherit your assets and there is no guarantee that your children will receive a dime. Consult a divorce lawyer to be sure you are correctly updating your documents and avoiding a disastrous outcome.