Any time you go through a major life event, you should review and revise your estate plan. Divorce is a major life event that affects every part of your life, including your estate plan. Thus, when you begin the divorce process, it is important to contact an attorney to update your will, power of attorney or health care directive.
During or immediately after your divorce, you will want to consider updating your will, inheritance planing, incapacity planning and beneficiary designations:
- Inheritance planning. Your current estate plan probably provides that if something were to happen to you, all of your assets should go to your former spouse. Presumably, you will want to name somebody else in your Last Will and Testament after your divorce.
- Incapacity planning. Many people name their spouse as their health care or financial power of attorney. Even if you and your ex-spouse separated under amicable terms, you will likely want to name somebody else (a parent, trusted friend, adult child, etc.) to handle your affairs if you should become incapacitated.
- Beneficiary designations. Updating your estate plan will not affect the beneficiary designations on certain policies and accounts. If you have a life insurance policy that lists your former spouse as the beneficiary, you should contact your life insurance company and update your beneficiary designations on all of your policies (unless your divorce judgment provides otherwise). This is also true for accounts such as your IRA or “pay on death” bank account designations.
If your estate plan currently names your ex-spouse in any of your documents, update them as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Jacksonville family law and estate attorney can tell you which legal documents you need to review in order to protect your assets and ensure your estate is distributed as you’d want it to be.
Attorney Andrea Jevic also contributed to this blog post.