If you are going through a divorce, estate planning may be the last thing on your mind. However, you should not neglect your estate-planning documents during this time of upheaval. Revising your estate plan during or after your divorce is a crucial step that many people neglect.
Why is estate-planning important in a divorce?
No doubt, you are already bogged down by myriad divorce-related legal documents. But addressing your estate plan today can save you a major headache tomorrow. If you do not take the time to reexamine your estate plan, you may unintentionally bequeath assets to your former spouse and their family. You may also inadvertently grant them more power over you than you wish. For example, if you designated your soon-to-be-ex as your power of attorney or health care proxy, they will have the power to make major decisions regarding your medical care and finances if you are incapacitated.
Five things for a post-divorce estate plan to address
When you revisit your estate planning documents, you may wish to:
- Name a different health care proxy
- Update your power of attorney
- Determine what assets, if any, to leave your spouse and their family
- Designate a new executor
- Choose your children’s legal guardians and trustees
How do I update my estate plan?
While it is possible to revise your estate plan on your own, this is not always wise. The legal process can be time-consuming, complex, and expensive. Attorneys can provide much-needed guidance to people who are going through a divorce and need to update their estate planning documents.