By Solid Serenity Legal Solutions
Estate plans are evolving documents. You cannot just draft a plan and then forget about it. Though you do not need to revisit you plan every month, or even every year, there will be times in your life when you should update your documents.
Some examples include when you gain assets, get married, get divorced, or have children or grandchildren born.
(1) Your Ex is Likely a Beneficiary or Heir
One of the most important times to revisit your estate plan is in the case of a divorce. If you do not update your plan after divorce proceedings and something happens to you, then all your assets could go to you estranged spouse.
Whether there was something big that sparked the divorce proceedings or if it was simply a romantic relationship that was not working out, you likely will not want your assets all going to your estranged spouse instead of your desired beneficiaries were something to happen to you.
Though generally assets with named beneficiaries cannot be changed during a divorce action, consider asking your attorney to ask the family court to provide interim orders to allow for the beneficiary change to be made. You may not want your spouse to inherit from you if something happens to you while you are going through the divorce.
The divorce settlement may make mention of how beneficiary status is changed. It is important to speak with your company’s HR office once the divorce is finalized to make sure the beneficiary information is updated.
(2) Your Ex May Be Able to Make Decisions for You When You Can’t
Legal documents such as financial powers of attorney, advance directives for health care, and medical powers of attorney will need to be changed immediately as well. Otherwise, if something happened that left you unable to make decisions, it could be your estranged or ex spouse who can make those decisions for you. Isn’t that the kind of thing horror movies are made of?
It is never fun to think about your mortality, and with how many other things are on your plate when going through a divorce, it is easy to put the estate plan on the back burner.
But, if you want to make sure your heirs are taken care of in case something does happen to you, then it is important to speak with your estate planning attorney when any material changes in your life that can affect your estate plan occurs.
If you are going through or just finalized a divorce, reach out to a trusted estate planning attorney today to make sure your plan still achieves your goals for your family!