Anyone who has ever been through a divorce will tell you it is hard. Not only is it an emotional time, but also extremely stressful due to the confusion and uncertainty many experience. One of the last things you want to think about upon getting divorced is revising your estate plan, and this is completely understandable. However, once your divorce is finalized, it is important that you take the steps to revise your estate plan for several reasons. In this blog, we look at some of these reasons as well as the overall benefits of revising your estate plan after divorce.
Many couples create estate plans when they are married. And if that is the case for you, your ex-spouse is probably the beneficiary of your estate. Not to mention, your ex-spouse may even be named as power of attorney or have control over your living will. What is important to remember is that, until you physically change your last will, power of attorney, etc., your ex-spouse is going to remain a beneficiary or designated as power of attorney. Therefore, it is important to revise your estate plan so you can prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting your assets upon your untimely death, or make important decisions relating to health or finances.
Even if you do not have an estate plan currently, creating an estate plan upon divorce provides many benefits. One benefit is to have the ability to designate an individual to make important life decisions. For example, you can create a Power of Attorney, which gives an individual the ability to make important decisions relating to your life, such as financial decisions, in the event you become incapacitated. Or, you can nominate a health care representative, which provides an individual with the power to make health care decisions, based upon your directive, in the event you are unable to make these decisions. Designating individuals to make important decisions can be an especially important benefit for recently divorced individuals because they no longer have that default decision-maker of the spouse.
Finally, another benefit estate planning offers for recently divorced parents, whether you have an existing estate plan or not, is to choose how your estate will be administered upon your death. The most common way to accomplish this is through a Last Will and Testament, although there are other devices to use, such as a trust. Estate planning gives you the ability to choose exactly how specific assets will be distributed to certain individuals. On the other hand, if you do not do any estate planning, your estate will be considered an “intestate estate,” and will be distributed according to statutory code, which can cause confusion and conflict between families. Ultimately, it is your estate, and planning your estate gives you the freedom of choice.
Life is unexpected. Things happen to people every day, and while we should always hope for the best, we can also plan for the worst. Estate planning can help give you peace of mind, as well as make it a little easier for those around you in the event something does happen. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle all areas of estate planning and divorces of all types throughout the state. It is written and posted for general educational purposes and is not to be construed as legal advice or solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.