The divorce process is unquestionably complex and time-consuming. Thankfully, altering your estate plan either during the course of your divorce or after your property division settlement has been finalized doesn’t have to be.
By working through a few significant steps with your attorney, making a few calls and signing a few documents, you can better ensure that your assets and benefits will be protected and will ultimately be inherited by someone other than your former spouse.
Alterations to Beneficiary Designations
If you have life insurance, a will, retirement accounts or similar benefits, you have likely named your former spouse as the beneficiary of these accounts in the event of your death. All of these accounts will need to be altered to reflect your divorce. You may choose to leave your assets to any children you may have or other loved ones. Your attorney will be able to help you make these changes in legally binding ways.
Alterations to your Will
After you have divorced, you will likely need to revoke your entire will (in writing and with the aid of your attorney to ensure that the revocation is legally binding) and create a new one. This process will likely be far less time-consuming than constructing your original will, as your attorney will likely be able to transfer significant portions of the original language supplemented by new beneficiary names and keeping any asset transfers in mind.
Alterations to Trusts and Other Legal Documents
Finally, you will need to work with your attorney to alter trusts and other complex legal documents. For example, you have likely named your former spouse as the decision-maker within your power of attorney documents in the event that you become medically unable to make your own decisions. It is now time to name another adult whom you trust to serve in this role. Your attorney will be able to help identify and alter each significant legal document or tool affected by your divorce.