Ending your marriage may have required splitting marital assets, negotiating a child custody arrangement and even finding a new place to live. Now that the dust has settled, you may want to consider the effects your divorce may have had on your estate plan.
If you have not yet finalized an estate plan, using your divorce as motivation may be wise. Nevertheless, for an existing plan, you may want to take the following three steps after your divorce.
1. Reconsider your health care representative
If you have a medical power of attorney and advance directive, you also probably have designated a health care representative. This person makes medical decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. If your ex-spouse is your health care representative, you may or may not want to name a new one.
2. Update your power of attorney
Just as your ex-spouse might be your current health care representative, he or she may also have the authorization to make legal and financial decisions for you. If so, you may want to change your power of attorney to an interim one until you decide who should take on the permanent role.
3. Rework your will
You may not want your ex-spouse to receive any more than he or she did during your divorce. If your ex-husband or -wife still appears in your simple will when you die, your relatives may have to fight to receive a share of your estate. Sadly, they may not be successful.
Major life events offer a prime opportunity to review and rework existing estate plans. Ultimately, because your divorce may have changed your outlook considerably, you probably should not postpone an update to your estate plan.