One of the many stages at which individuals often sit down to engage in estate planning is when they get married or have kids. They often do so to ensure that their spouse and/or children will inherit their assets when they die.
As you might imagine, divorce is one of those life stages at which you might want to reverse some of the estate planning actions you took when you got married. Let’s look at some of the things that you may want to assess:
Why you should review your will and beneficiary designations
Provided you haven’t updated your will or life insurance or retirement beneficiary forms since your divorce, it’s likely that your spouse is set to receive the bulk of your estate when you pass away. You’ll probably want to update these to reflect your new wishes. You might want to leave your estate wholly to your kids, parents, siblings, or someone else close to you (or a combination thereof).
Reassess your medical power of attorney
The person you selected to have medical power of attorney (POA) and make medical decisions if you’re too incapacitated to do so yourself was likely your spouse. You’ll need to decide whether you still want them to have that authority or whether you need to choose someone else.
Why do you need to revisit your financial power of attorney?
A financial power of attorney works much like a medical POA in that it allows someone else to step in and make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. You may have given your appointee liberal control over your financial accounts so that they can make timely payments on your bills. This legal document may also afford that individual the ability to sell off any assets as they deem necessary. Again, if the person you originally designated was your spouse, you’ll probably want to appoint someone else.
Think about who you’d like to replace your former spouse on these documents, then update them as soon as possible. We’re not promised tomorrow, and you want to ensure that your final wishes are accurately reflected in your estate plan.