During a divorce, former spouses have to completely separate their legal and financial lives from one another. Often, the focus is on splitting property and sharing custody, but there is also estate planning to consider.
Spouses typically include one another in their end-of-life plans, a decision that necessitates timely estate planning updates when either spouse files for divorce. There are numerous changes that you may need to make to your estate planning documents when your marriage ends, including the three below.
Removing your spouse as a beneficiary
You likely named your spouse as the recipient of any proceeds for your life insurance policy. They are also likely the main beneficiary of your estate planning documents. Obviously, now that two of you have decided to go your separate ways, you won’t want your ex inheriting the majority of your property. You will need to consider how you want to update your beneficiary designations and legacy to reflect your new family circumstances.
Removing your spouse from any position of authority
Although spouses often have access to bank accounts and medical information, you may still have included your spouse in powers of attorney or advance directive documents that you drafted as part of your estate plan.
If you suffer a heart attack or get into a car crash, you probably don’t want your ex making all of your medical decisions or handling your bills for you. Removing your ex if you gave them authority in power of attorney or trust documents will protect you in an emergency.
Protecting your children and their inheritance
If there is an upside to divorce, it may be the reduced likelihood of you and your ex dying at the same time and leaving your children with no one. However, parents in Oak Hill and the surrounding parts of Virginia will still want to name a guardian in their wills in case that exact situation occurs.
Beyond that, you need to consider how your ex might misuse any inheritance you leave for your children. Many parents create trusts for their children after divorce so that their ex won’t be able to access the inheritance or waste it before the children become adults.
Locating every place where you mention your ex in your estate planning documents will probably be a good first step toward protecting yourself after your divorce.