After your divorce is final, there are many decisions to make and things to consider. A major change like this could be an opportune moment to review your estate plan.
Compiling your various estate planning documents
Documents and finances that might make up your estate plan include:
- A will
- A living will
- Power of attorney
- A revocable living trust
- A digital estate plan
- Retirement plans
- Business plans if you are a business owner
- A life insurance policy
1) Including your divorce agreement into your estate plans
Depending on how your divorce goes, you may owe money to your spouse in various ways. To plan your estate accordingly, you could arrange a meeting with your estate attorney to factor in these expenses to your estate.
2) Deciding on your health care proxy
Having a health care proxy lets you name the person who would make health care choices for you if you lost your ability to communicate. Depending on your relationship with your ex-spouse you might rather designate someone else to take this position.
3) Choosing a guardian for your minor children
Going through the divorce process can change your view of your spouse. It's possible you would rather designate someone else as the guardian of your children if something happened to you.
You might come to this decision after learning of your ex-spouse's substance abuse. You may also become aware that they might be an unfit parent in other ways.
4) Making changes to your trust and will
It's a possibility that you listed your ex-spouse as the trustee and executor. One option would be to keep them in these documents but remove any control they would have had over your estate. You could choose to take them out of your trust or estate completely.
5) Creating space for your new relationship in your estate planning documents
Often a spouse may start dating before the divorce is final. You may already have someone you're invested in by the time you're considering how to take care of your estate after the divorce. Adding this new person to your estate planning documents will ensure whichever assets you decide will go to them.
In the aftermath of your divorce you may still be stressed. However, considering revising your estate plan and discussing this with your lawyer could be a logical next step to protect your future.