If you asked most people about the connection between divorce and estate planning, they’d likely tell you there isn’t any. After they gave the matter some thought, though, they may see where the two areas of the law intersect.
Many spouses see life’s many milestones, such as marriage, as a time to sit down and plan for the future. This is often when spouses draft wills and other estate planning documents such as health care and financial powers of attorney, and health care directives. In addition to naming each other as the appointees in these documents, spouses also select one another as beneficiaries to insurance policies and retirement plans.
Divorce is another one of the milestones in which you may want to reverse any appointments or designations that you’ve made in these legal forms. You run the risk of an ex that you’re maybe not on the best terms with calling the shots when you’re in a precarious situation.
Downsides to not revising your estate planning documents post-divorce
There are a few different reasons why you should revise the following estate planning documents in the wake of your divorce, including:
- Your will: Your run the risk of a sizable (if not all) your estate going to your ex unless you replace their name with your kids’, parents’ or someone else’s.
- Your financial power of attorney: This legal document can be enforced if you become incapacitated. Depending on how it’s written, it may give your designee significant control over your finances, including decisions about selling your real estate.
- Your health care proxy: Outlines decisions to uphold if you suffer some type of incapacitating injury or illness and aren’t able to voice your own decisions.
The above-referenced estate planning documents carry significant weight over what happens with your property, finances and health. If there’s any concern that your ex-spouse may be your designee on any of these documents, then it’s in your best interest to review them to ensure that your choices still reflect your most current wishes.