Divorce can be fraught with contention and a long list of things to do. Once the proceedings are over, you may breathe a sigh of relief. However, there is one more thing yet to do right away: Update your estate plans to reflect the divorce.
You can make some changes now to protect yourself in case something happens during the divorce process. However, other changes require the divorce to be final first. Your attorney can tell you which you are able to alter now and which you have the option of changing later. Making a mistake can lead to your ex or your family contesting your estate plans.
1. Update your beneficiaries
It is likely you do not want as many, if any, of your assets to go to your ex. Name new beneficiaries, or change how much they receive to ensure your ex does not get more of your property than the divorce already granted.
2. Choose new representatives
Part of estate planning is choosing who will represent you in various circumstances in case you become incapacitated or pass on. These legal appointments include:
- Healthcare proxy for making medical decisions
- Power of attorney for managing financial affairs
- Guardian(s) for taking care of minors or adult children with special needs
- Trustee for overseeing trusts
- Executor of the estate for carrying out your final wishes
You probably do not want your ex to play any of these roles. If you still do, make it clear the divorce has not changed that to prevent disputes.
3. Account for new relationships
If you are already in a new relationship, then consider how it will affect your estate plans. If you are married, your new spouse will automatically have certain rights. When children from previous and current relationships become involved, things become more complicated. Make sure your plans are clear and legally valid to protect those you love.