Divorce often involves a lot of change in a short period of time, so it can be easy to overlook important issues like updating your estate plan. If you’ve recently been divorced, you’ll need a lawyer to draw-up your Will, draft updated powers of attorney, and help make other adjustments to your estate plan that reflect your goals and wishes for this new stage of your life.
Write a New Will
Your family estate planning attorney will most likely recommend that you start fresh after your divorce and create a Will that names a new executor. This ensures that your previous Will is revoked and can eliminate confusion and conflict in the event of your passing.
Revisit Guardianship of Minor Children
If you are co-parenting and on good terms with your former partner, you may have agreed to keep guardians for minor children as they are. If you want to change who you specify as guardian in your estate plan, the best divorce lawyers in Delaware County, PA advise clients to discuss it with their family law attorney and estate planning lawyer before making any revisions. Any custody or guardianship decisions that are specified in your divorce settlement agreement must be taken into consideration.
Update Your Advance Directive and Powers of Attorney
Most married couples designate their spouse to make health care and end-of-life decisions for them. If your divorce was amicable and both parties agree to maintain the status quo, you don’t have to change anything. However, if you are concerned about who should make these decisions in the event of your incapacitation, it’s important to change the agents you named in your power of attorney for health care and advance directive. The same goes for power of attorney for finances. You can revoke powers of attorney at any time, including during the divorce process. An attorney can ensure that that existing powers of attorney are properly revoked and help you create new ones.
Name New Beneficiaries
It’s also essential to update beneficiaries on the following:
- Life insurance policies
- IRA, 401(k), pension, or other retirement accounts
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Real estate with transfer-on-death deeds
- Vehicles with named transfer-on-death beneficiaries
Any accounts you have that require the naming of a beneficiary should be updated after your divorce.
Top probate lawyers often recommend a revocable living trust as part of an estate plan, which can allow an estate to avoid probate. If you and your ex-spouse had a joint trust, assets held in it may have been divided in your divorce. In this case, your trust may have already been revoked or dissolved. Regardless, it’s important to make sure you create a new trust or update beneficiaries of any trusts you have to reflect your wishes.
If you’re splitting-up with your spouse or need assistance with sorting-out estate planning after your divorce, an affordable divorce attorney in Chester County can help you understand your rights and protect your interests.