When you are married and creating an estate plan, one of the last things most people want to account for is divorce. In fact, it can already be hard enough to create a document that outlines what you want to happen after you die. If you think about divorce while you work on this document as well it may seem like you are expecting negative things to happen. Attorneys know that this is not true, however. Instead, consider what may happen to your will during and after a divorce is prudent and can protect your family. If you would like to learn more information on how a divorce can affect your estate plan, please reach out to a trusted attorney from a law firm today.
What should I update now that I’m getting a divorce?
This can depend on the type of estate planning you have done. If you created a will while you were married, there are a few things you should consider updating.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney. When you were married, it was likely that you wanted your spouse to make medical decisions if you were to become incapacitated in some way. This may include if you should stay on life support or if you should receive certain medications. While it is always possible the divorce was amicable and your ex-spouse would still have your best interests in mind, this is not something you should leave up to chance. Change your healthcare power of attorney soon.
- Durable Power of Attorney. Similarly, if you are no longer able to take care of your financial or legal affairs, you want to ensure you have someone you can trust with these items. If this was your spouse but you are getting a divorce, you should find someone you can trust to make these decisions for you.
Changing Your Will
You should speak with your lawyer about changing your will during the divorce process. Some states will allow you to do so before you ever get divorced. Some things you should consider changing are:
- Your Executor. The executor is one of the most important people named in the will. If you chose (like many people do) to name your spouse as your executor, you should consider changing this. You want to make sure the person who distributes your assets and performs this important job can do so with your best interests in mind instead of theirs.
- Guardians. Who you name as your minor children’s guardian is extremely important. In the event that you and your ex-spouse are no longer alive, you want to ensure that the right person is watching over your children. Because of how heated divorces can be, if the person you originally named no longer likes you because of the divorce, you should change this quickly.
To see how else divorce can affect your will, speak with a divorce lawyer in Fairfax, VA.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into family law and updating your estate plan after divorce.