The process of getting a divorce touches literally every part of your life – including your estate plan. How would you feel if after your divorce was over and you thought everything had been taken care of, your ex-spouse was still involved with the disbursement of your assets simply because you forgot to update your estate documents?
Getting divorced is difficult and involves a lot of change in your life. If you want to ensure that an ex-spouse cannot be involved in your life in cases of disability or death, you would be well-advised to create or update legal documents during or as soon after your divorce as possible.
What documents should be created or updated to reflect your divorce? Consider the following at a minimum:
- New Powers of Attorney and Medical Powers of Attorney (who can sign your name and who can talk to your physician);
- New Declarations of Guardian in Advance;
- If you have minor children, update your Guardian Declarations for Minor Children;
- Update beneficiary designations of all kinds;
- New Last Will and Testament
- New Trust(s)
Despite current law attempting to address the situation where spouses divorce yet fail to update estate documents before death or disability, the enforcement of these legal provisions can be extremely costly, time-consuming and still may not result in your actual wishes being carried out.
Crain and Wooley has assisted in numerous cases in which a spouse was married to one person, named them as beneficiary in multiple documents, divorced spouse number 1 and remarried a second person. However, at death and/or disability the estate was tied up in contested proceedings between current spouses and ex-spouses due to documents never being updating to reflect the updated familial structure and current wishes.
Start this new chapter of your life off right by updating or creating your estate plan. Contact Crain & Wooley today.