Getting Divorced? Remember to Update Your Estate Plan
When you are going through a divorce, you probably have a lot on your plate. Whether your divorce is relatively simple and amicable or complex and high-conflict, many things are going to change. After your marital property is divided equitably, your estate plan is likely to look much different. Assets that were jointly owned may now be only in your name, or only in your ex-spouse’s name. You will probably need to make some changes to your will, trust, or life insurance documents if your former spouse was named as a beneficiary. At the same time, any incapacity planning documents you have, like powers of attorney, may need to be updated – most people do not want an ex-spouse making medical decisions on their behalf.
What Changes to My Estate Plan Might I Need to Make After a Divorce?
Married couples are very commonly the main beneficiaries in all facets of each other’s estate plans. The more planning you have already done, the more documents you may need to update. It is important to make sure there is a careful review done of all your testamentary and incapacity planning documents as well as your other financial accounts to make sure that you have made a clean break, if that is what you want to do. Consider updating your:
- 401(k) – If your spouse was named as a beneficiary of your 401(k) or other retirement accounts, you may want to remove their name after the divorce court has finished dividing the account.
- Will or trust – Especially after a complicated property division, you might want to review your testamentary plans to make sure they still reflect what property is actually contained in your estate. You will probably also want to change who should receive your money and other property when you pass away. If you have minor children, there are ways to set it up so your estate primarily benefits them without allowing your ex-spouse to potentially take advantage and misuse funds.
- Powers of attorney – The person you name as your medical power of attorney will likely be the one making health care choices for you should you become incapacitated. Particularly if your divorce was on the hostile side, it may be quite critical that you change these designations immediately. The same is true for financial powers of attorney.
- Executor/administrator – After a divorce may be a good time to revisit your choice in personal representative who will handle your will or trust one day. Consider whether the person named is someone you still trust to carry out your wishes.
Divorces can bring many changes to a person’s life. It is also likely to affect how a person would want their estate to be distributed, and who they would want to be involved with their medical care one day. After a divorce, it is very important to review your estate plans carefully and make any needed changes.
Speak With an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney
Gierach Law Firm offers a wide range of estate planning services. If you are getting divorced, our experienced Naperville estate planning lawyers can help guide you through a comprehensive review of your entire estate plan. Call us at 630-756-1160 to set up a consultation.
Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.