When you made the decision to marry, you probably felt as if nothing could ever come between you and your partner, and you may have placed a good deal of trust in this person at that time. As a result, you may have decided to give your spouse certain rights and powers in the event that something was to potentially incapacitate you. You may, too, have made your husband or wife your beneficiary when you created your estate plan, but you may feel differently now that the two of you have decided to part ways.
Unless you want your ex maintaining certain rights and powers while your divorce is ongoing, it may serve you well to take a fresh look at your estate plan once you make the decision to divorce. More specifically, you may want to review the following areas, among others:
Your wills and trusts
You may have some beneficiary designations that you cannot change. However, you may be able to update certain areas of your wills or trusts, so consider whether it may benefit you to name a new trustee or executor where possible. You may, too, want to make changes to your wills and trusts that eliminate your ex as a beneficiary or reduce how much he or she receives after your passing if rules permit.
Your health care directives
While your becoming incapacitated while your divorce case is ongoing is relatively unlikely, it is certainly possible. Often, married people give their partners the ability to make healthcare-related decisions on their spouse’s behalf in the event that they cannot do so themselves. You may not want your ex to retain this authority once you decide to split up, though, in which case you should update your health care proxy to give decision-making power to someone else.
While updating your wills, trusts and health care directives is an important part of estate planning amid divorce, there are other aspects of your estate plan that may also warrant another look.