Recently divorced? Take back control by eliminating your “ex” from those old estate planning records.
Give your divorce arrangement to your estate planning attorney.
Your attorney needs to understand any obligations you have to your ex-spouse in the event of your death.
Update your medial power of attorney.
Your medical power of attorney lets you name someone to legally make health care decisions for you if, for instance, you were in an auto crash or had a health crisis and were not able to communicate. If you don’t want your ex-spouse making these choices, then you need to name someone else you can trust.
Change your general power of attorney.
If you had an old power of attorney naming your ex-spouse, that ought to be revoked. Implement a new power of attorney naming a friend, relative, or trusted advisor to serve as your representative concerning your finances and resources.
Revise your will and trust.
Remove terms that include your ex and eliminate him or her as the executor and trustee. Make sure your former spouse doesn’t receive any resources or have any control over your trust or estate when you pass.
If you have little kids, rethink guardianship.
You might have named your ex-spouse as the guardian in your will. Even if you didn’t, your ex-spouse will most likely serve as guardian of your minor children if you pass away, unless he or she’s determined by the court to be unfit. If you’ve had a difficult divorce, or perhaps your ex-spouse has a substance abuse issue, you will most likely want to name someone else as guardian.
Be sure to have a trust for minor children.
If you do NOT have a trust for small children, and your ex-spouse is the children’s guardian, he or she will have control of your children’s finances until they turn 18. If you do not want your “ex” controlling your children’s monies, then a revocable trust can be created for protection.
Pay particular attention to life insurance demands.
Ex-spouses sometimes ignore their obligations to keep life insurance in their divorce agreement. Review your duty with your estate planning attorney, and together with your divorce attorney.
Reassess your beneficiary designations.
Ensure that your 401K and IRA beneficiary designations are in accordance with the terms of your divorce agreement. If by chance you do want to name your ex as the beneficiary, then you need to execute a new beneficiary designation following the divorce. It’s also a safe measure to leave a letter of intent with your estate planning attorney, so that your intentions are clear.
Do not neglect a prenuptial agreement.
Above all, if you’re contemplating remarriage after your divorce is finalized, be sure to get a prenuptial agreement.
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