We all know that divorce changes everything, but sometimes we forget to think about ‘everything’. And that can include your estate plan. Our clients will ask us: ‘How will my divorce affect my estate plan?’ We have put together a few points to remember. Still, it is always best to talk with your estate planning attorney to ensure you have updated all necessary documents after your divorce.
How Will My Divorce Affect My Estate Plan?
While it’s wise to update your estate plan every 3-5 years – it’s necessary to do so during and after your divorce. Remember, your estate plan includes more than your will. There are many documents that you need to review. Here are just a few of those that you will need to update:
- Your will. This can include:
- Your children’s guardianship
- Beneficiaries – you may not want to leave everything to your ex or their family.
- Assets – you may need to update what assets you still own after the divorce.
- Your trust. You will need to name a new trustee if your ex is currently designated to take it over. You may also want to change the terms of the trust if they include your ex.
- Power of Attorney. You may not want your ex to have the power to make financial decisions after your divorce. You must legally revoke a power of attorney and write a new one.
- Healthcare directive. If you have given your ex authority over your healthcare decisions, you will most certainly want to change your healthcare directive immediately.
- Insurance policies. You will need to work with your insurance carrier to change the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. While an estate attorney cannot do this for you, they can help you remember to contact the carrier.
- Retirement plans. Your divorce attorney will draft a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) to separate your retirement funds from your ex.
Your estate planning attorney will walk you through these and other documents you need to update. Asking them the simple question of, ‘how will my divorce affect my estate plan?’ will open the discussion and begin the process.
What You Should do Now and What You Should do AFTER the Divorce is Finalized
Some items on the above list should be addressed during the divorce, while others can wait until after.
- Your child’s guardianship will be discussed during the divorce, but your assets may have changed, and you’ll update that portion of your will afterward.
- Your health insurance and retirement plans will need to be addressed during the divorce, but you can rename a beneficiary of your life insurance policy after.
- People can become bitter during a divorce. For this reason, you may want to change your power of attorney and healthcare directive immediately. You may not want to wait until after the divorce for this.
As you can see, divorce has a huge impact on your estate plan. This is why working with an experienced estate planning attorney during and after your divorce is crucial.
DuPage and Cook County Estate Planning Attorney
Do you have questions about your estate plan during and after your divorce? Contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney at Estate and Probate Legal Group. Call us at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties