Divorce is a difficult time with so much to do. However, don’t forget to address your estate plan. Forbes’ recent article, “8 Estate Planning Moves If You Are Getting Divorced,” says that while the divorce is ongoing, you need to be sure to meet your legal obligations to your spouse. At the same time, however, you need to exercise as much control over your assets as possible. Here are some things you need to do:
Health care directive. Your health care directive may name your spouse as the decision-maker, which may not be what you want when you are in the middle of a divorce.
Power of attorney. If you executed a durable power of attorney, it gave your spouse access to all of your accounts and assets while you are incapacitated, including access to assets in your name alone. You need to revoke that power of attorney and execute a new one with the help of your estate planning attorney.
Will. If your state lets you execute a new will, you should do so, and remove your spouse as executor. You should also look at the guardianship of minor children. You won’t be able to keep your current spouse from being the guardian of your children if you die (unless he or she is determined by the court to be unfit), but you can name an alternate guardian.
Prenuptial (or postnuptial) agreement. If you have a prenuptial agreement, your divorce attorney should have looked at it in light of your divorce. Review it to see what your spouse is entitled to, in the event of your death. Your new estate plan should mirror the terms of your prenuptial agreement.
Trusts. If your state lets you amend your revocable trust, do so immediately. A big issue to review is trust provisions for young children and whether you want your spouse managing and having access to monies for your children. If you have minor children, you should have a revocable trust that will name someone of your choosing as trustee. Otherwise, if your spouse is their guardian, she’ll have the right to access and control your money for them, if you pass away.
Review your estate plan once your divorce is finalized, because estate planning during divorce is frequently a temporary measure. Once the divorce is finalized, see what needs to be updated in light of the situation. Reference: Forbes (June 19, 2018) “8 Estate Planning Moves If You Are Getting Divorced”