An Estate Plan Checklist After Your Divorce
With all the issues that need to be decided during the divorce process, the need to update the estate plan can easily be overlooked. The divorce decree is silent on any type of estate planning, but there are some important ways the divorce will impact estate planning and steps you need to take in order for your intended beneficiaries to avoid problems if you die.
Necessary Estate Planning Updates
There are several estate planning steps you need to take during the divorce process:
- Review your Will. If your ex-spouse is still the main beneficiary under your will when you die, then your ex-spouse will inherit everything you mention in your Will that goes to your named ex-spouse. If you remarry, you can gift your half of the community property to anyone you want to. It is common in second marriages for spouses to draft a will that leaves some of their assets to children from a previous marriage.
- Medical Power of Attorney needs to be rewritten. This includes HIPAA releases and designation of who makes medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them for yourself. You do not want to be incapacitated and have your ex-spouse designated as the one to make health care decisions on your behalf.
- Your Statutory Durable Power of Attorney needs to be updated. You do not want your ex-spouse to make financial decisions or have access to financial accounts on your behalf when you are unable to make them for yourself.
- Change the beneficiaries of your life insurance. If your ex-spouse is still listed as a beneficiary, the ex-spouse will receive the insurance funds if you die. Your life insurance needs to be updated independently from your Will.
- Change the beneficiary of your retirement plans such as a 401k or IRA. In conjunction with your change of beneficiary on the plan documents, you will need a special court order covering the way these funds are distributed upon your death.
Contact Martinez Legal, P.C. for Assistance
For answers to all your questions about estate planning, contact us at Martinez Legal P.C. Our goal is to help you review all estate planning documents and update them according to the terms of your divorce agreement. This is the only way to be sure that when you die, your assets are distributed according to your wishes.