After your divorce is finalized it is important to update your estate planning documents, as a family attorney relies on can attest. Wills, trusts and power of attorney documents can be easily updated to reflect changes. The information in your will should be updated to reflect your new name, if that applies, any new address or contact information, an updated list of property and assets, and of course to whom you give your assets and estate in the event of your passing.
In most estate plans people identify guardians who will take care of children if you are temporarily or permanently unavailable. After your divorce you may want to change guardians who may no longer be part of your immediate and extended family. Likewise, beneficiary designations for insurance policies and bank accounts with payable on death options.
Too many people wait until they take overseas vacations to update their estate planning documents. Meanwhile many events and occurrences that affect our ability to be healthy and functioning can occur within a few blocks of our home or right on our doorstep.
Power of Attorney updates after your divorce is finalized
You do not need to die or become permanently disabled for Power of Attorney documents to take effect. Simply being in a medically induced state before a surgical procedure can render you unable to make decisions about your health.
Power of Attorney documents for your healthcare or general business transactions should be updated after your divorce is finalized. If your former spouse was listed as the person who could make medical decisions on your behalf, they may still have that authority even if you get divorced.
Updating your Power of Attorney directives gives you assurances that the person who can pull the life support plug is really the one who has your best interests in mind.
Making sure your children are provided for in your will
When we talk about updating estate planning documents to protect children, one of the important things to think about is remarriage. If you do not otherwise specify, your property and assets could be distributed and claimed by the children and relatives of your new spouse. To ensure that only your immediate children will take under your will, make sure to update the will with specific language that makes it clear what you want to happen when you pass.
When meeting with your estate planning attorney you may wish to bring any formerly created estate planning documents as well as your divorce decree. An experienced estate planning attorney should have a list of what to update after your divorce is finalized.