“Married individuals who are considering divorce should review their estate plans to determine if they remain appropriate,” says divorcesource.com, reminding readers that
the law considers you legally married until the judge signs the final dissolution decree ending the marriage. If you were to die or become disabled prior to the divorce becoming final, your spouse might have legal control over you and your estate, and may be entitled to most, if not all, of your assets.
In the months leading up to a divorce, we realize you have a lot on your mind. Still, at Geyer Law, we recommend you pay immediate attention to several areas of your estate plan. Later, once the divorce is final, our attorneys can help you formulate a longer term plan.
If you don’t have a will, you need to create one right away. If you don’t yet have a will, you will want to name a new executor. The same holds true for changing the trustee of a trust.
You may wish to make an immediate change to the beneficiary designations on your life insurance policies and retirement plans. (To change the beneficiary on a qualified retirement plan to someone other than your spouse will require your spouse’s consent until the divorce is final.)
Powers of attorney:
If your spouse was given your Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney, you will perhaps want to change that designation to a relative or friend.
Were any premarital or prenuptial agreements put into place before you married? Time to review those agreements and determine how your future decisions might be impacted by their terms.
Naming a new executor:
If your spouse has been the executor, you’ll need to choose someone else.
Naming a guardian for your minor children.
It is hard to prevent your ex-spouse from becoming guardian of your children f you don’t in the event of your death. Discussions about your concerns should be held with your attorney, and proper planning done after the divorce is final.
Joint bank and brokerage accounts.
One of the biggest questions for a divorcing couple is how to divide and protect assets after separating. With a divorce filing in progress, it’s probably best not to touch the accounts until the settlement is final.
There’s a lot on your mind when you’re involved in a divorce, but at Geyer & Associates, we advise going over all these important matters step by step.