The end of a marriage can change your life in ways you don’t expect. Divorce can be a stressful and exhausting process, but it doesn’t always end right after the separation is complete. After a divorce, there’s still an important step you should take to secure your future.
Updating an estate plan after divorce is crucial. Many people include their spouses in their estate plan in many ways, expecting their marriage to last a lifetime. But not all relationships are meant to be, and you will have to adjust your estate plans to accommodate any personal life changes.
After your divorce, here are five of the most important estate planning items you should update:
- Your will – Many people leave most of their estate to their spouse, so it’s essential to remove your ex-spouse if this is the case. If your spouse was also the executor of your will, you should consider assigning that responsibility to someone else.
- Your healthcare proxy – Healthcare proxies step in to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. If you named your ex-spouse as your proxy, you should update this to ensure someone else you trust can take care of you in case of an emergency.
- Your power of attorney – Power of attorneys help oversee financial assets and responsibilities when you are unable. You probably don’t want to give your ex-spouse any access to your finances in the future, so it’s vital to reassign this duty to another trusted friend or family member.
- Your trusts – If you created a revocable trust during your marriage, you might be able to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
- Your guardianships – Guardianships name the person you want to look after your minor children if you die unexpectedly. Many people will leave their ex-spouse as their children’s guardian as they are the other parent, and most courts will also uphold passing children onto a surviving parent. However, if your ex-spouse displayed signs of substance abuse or other behaviors that deem them unfit as a guardian, you should assign this position to someone else.
Going through a divorce can be stressful enough without worrying about how it will affect your future in the long run. But preparing for unexpected life events is why estate planning is so important. Keeping an updated estate plan offers you peace of mind, so take the time to revise your plan after your divorce.