Going through a divorce is a significant life change that affects many areas of your life. Once the divorce decree is finalized, you must consider your estate plan. If you had one while married, it likely doesn’t contain the terms you want now.
There are a few points that you must pay close attention to when you’re reviewing the estate plan. While these aren’t comprehensive, they’re a good starting point.
1. Powers of attorney
Your spouse may have had powers of attorney for you while you were married, but you may not want that now. Drawing up new forms is critical so you can name someone to take over your finances and health care. Remember, the same person can do both, but you can choose a different person for each responsibility.
2. Assets listed in your will and trusts
Changing the estate plan before the divorce is finalized might be tempting. It’s best to wait until you know with 100% certainty what assets belong to you so you can include only those in your new estate plan. This alleviates the chance that you’ll have an asset listed that you don’t own.
3. Beneficiaries on financial accounts and life insurance
Double-check all your financial accounts and life insurance policies to ensure the beneficiary named on each is who you want those to go to when you die. Be sure to review checking and savings accounts because there’s likely a payable-on-death designation you’ll need to change now.
Ultimately, a comprehensive estate plan must consider your circumstances and wishes. Working with someone familiar with these cases is beneficial to ensure everything is relayed appropriately.