“`Til death do us part” may not mean much to you after you get divorced. But the harsh reality for all of us is that death remains a part of life even if your marriage no longer is. This means that the estate planning documents you prepared in anticipation of your passing need to be modified to reflect the new realities of your new life.
If you have documents such as a will, trust, or advance healthcare directives, you’ll want to pull those out of the drawer, review them, and change them if what made sense when you prepared them doesn’t makes sense today.
Here are four crucial elements of your estate plan that you need to review and modify after your divorce:
- Wills and Trusts. If you named your now-former spouse as the executor of your estate or the trustee of your trust, it is highly likely that you no longer want that to be the case. Similarly, you’ll want to change the designated beneficiaries if you no longer want your former spouse to receive assets from your estate.
- Powers of Attorney/Advance Health Care Directives. You may have executed these vital documents which give your designated representative the power to make decisions for you as to your financial affairs, health care, or end-of-life matters in the event that you become incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions or convey your wishes. Not to be flip, but if your ex is named as the decision-maker in those documents, do you in really want them in charge of whether to pull the plug in the event of a tragedy?
- Pensions/IRAs/Insurance Policies. Even if you update the beneficiary designations in your will or trust, that is not necessarily enough to change who get the proceeds of a pension, retirement account, or insurance policy. The designated beneficiaries for each of these assets needs to be changed if you no longer want the proceeds to go to your former spouse.
- Make sure that the titles to major assets such as vehicles, real property, boats, etc. reflect the agreements made during your divorce as to property ownership.
Divorce has wide-ranging practical and financial implications. At Clement Law, we work closely with financial and estate planning professionals when appropriate to ensure that all issues relating to your financial security and those of your children are thoroughly addressed.
If you’d like to discuss any issues relating to divorce, please give New York and New Jersey divorce attorney Daniel Clement a call at (212) 683-9551 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.