A divorce is a major life event, and should be treated as such. Once the divorce is finalized, your estate planning should not stop there. In fact, you should not wait until your divorce is finalized to take advantage of the information below! Take some time to regroup, and then consider the 5 steps every person should take during and post-divorce.
- Update your Will and/or Trusts. Your assets will change, and you need to account for that. Your desire regarding who will be the trustee for your children’s trust may change. You may need to update the executor of your will – do you want your ex-spouse in charge of administering your estate after you pass? Didn’t think so….make sure you update your documents!
- Update your beneficiaries. In Florida, contract law applies to assets with a beneficiary designation. If you have life insurance or a retirement account, you chose a beneficiary to receive those proceeds. If you pass away without updating the beneficiaries, your ex-spouse will receive those proceeds….a will doesn’t determine the provisions for your life insurance or retirement account, the contract is what counts!
- Update your power of attorney/living will/health care surrogate. These are three documents that provides important powers to the person you designated. Most likely, your spouse was the person, or one of the people, you chose. Do you really want the person you’re actively trying to part with to have the power to make decisions regarding your health? Whether to continue life prolonging efforts? To have the ability to utilize a power of attorney while you’re fighting over furniture? Of course not.
- Update your bank accounts. Leaving open a joint bank account or credit card can spell disaster. If a divorce gets particularly contentious, do you want your paycheck direct deposited into a joint account just to find out it was withdrawn? No. So take a few minutes and close joint accounts – and, while you’re at it, designate beneficiaries for your new bank accounts to avoid a headache down the road.
- Do it now! Don’t wait until the divorce is final to make changes to your estate planning. The above points all show the pitfalls of failing to update your planning. But keep in mind, a divorce can take months or even years to weave their way through the court systems. Don’t take the chance by prolonging these changes and meet with an attorney to address your planning during the divorce.
These 5 basic considerations will help you protect your assets and keep your estate in order. At Shulman Law, we can help you with these 5 basic steps and much more. Click on the “Contact” link to set up a consultation. At Shulman Law, we believe you should lead your legacy, not just leave it….especially to your ex!!
Shulman Law offers legal representation in Estate Planning, Succession Planning, Charitable Giving, as well as Criminal Defense Attorney services in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge, Oakland Park, Wilton Manor, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood and throughout Broward County Florida.