Going through a Divorce is never easy. On top of the emotional heartache, you have to deal with separating assets, selling or refinancing the family home, setting up Child Support and establishing Custody—the list goes on. Easily overlooked, but equally important, are the changes you must make to your Estate Plan. Smith Legal Group recommends post-Divorce Estate Planning to make sure your assets will go to those you wish to have them. The sooner you act, the better.
Elements of Your Estate Plan to Update After Divorce
Divorce changes your relationship with your ex-spouse, former in-laws, and children, but it doesn’t automatically update your estate plan. To avoid unintended consequences, take the time to revise your documents to align with your new life. Here’s where to begin.
Assets that let you name a beneficiary are not controlled by wills or trusts. Instead, they are paid directly to the person of your choice. Immediately following a Divorce, your ex-spouse is probably the beneficiary, meaning they will get the money unless you name someone else. Here are the beneficiary designations to revisit after Divorce:
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions
- Health savings accounts
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
- Transfer-on-death investment accounts
- Power of Attorney
- Medical Directives
Once your Divorce is final, contact the institutions and companies associated with your accounts and policies. Find out who is listed as the beneficiary and update it if needed.
If you made your will while married, it definitely needs some adjustments after getting divorced. After all, your ex-spouse is probably the last person you want to inherit your assets when you die. To avoid confusion, you may want to revoke your old will and draw up a new one.
If you have a revocable living trust for yourself and a trust for your children, revisit these documents after Divorce. You may need to remove your ex’s name as a joint trustee and beneficiary of the trust to ensure the assets go to your children. You may also need to name a new joint trustee to oversee the assets if you pass away before your children turn 18.
Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
Most married couples use powers of attorney and living wills to make financial and healthcare-related decisions on each other’s behalf if they become incapacitated due to injury or illness. Now that you’re Divorced, you may want to name a parent, sibling, close friend, or adult child in your powers of attorney and living wills.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in Nevada
It’s unwise to update estate planning documents without help from an attorney. After all, errors in your paperwork could result in your wishes not being granted if you become incapacitated or pass away. Turn to Smith Legal Group for trusted estate planning legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas areas. We have years of experience helping our clients navigate the intricacies of Divorce and estate planning. To request a free consultation, please call our estate planning law firm at 702-410-5001 or contact us online.