An estate plan doesn’t become null and void simply because you’ve finalized the divorce. Unless action is taken, your entire estate, medical and financial decisions could pass to your ex-spouse upon your death or incapacity. To avoid this, you must update your plan as soon as possible.
Here are the most important things to update in your estate plan after parting ways with your spouse.
Health care directive
When you executed your estate plan, you likely chose your spouse as your health care agent. In doing so, you granted them the power to make your health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. These powers include things like deciding the facility where you will be treated and the kind of treatment that you will receive. If anything were to happen after the divorce, they will still retain these powers unless you update the document.
Powers of attorney
You may have granted your ex the power to act on your behalf financially immediately, upon your proven incapacity or both. Updating this document is one of the first steps you should consider taking after filing. If you don’t, your ex can still conduct financial transactions in your place including withdrawing money from your bank account and withdrawing checks, depending on the powers that they were given.
Will or trust
Your spouse will still remain a beneficiary of your estate if you don’t keep your will or trust up-to-date. Some people believe that this will not be the case since they are legally divorced, but this is a myth. They may also still retain the powers of an executor or guardian to your minor children without updates.
Don’t put off these important updates. The future is unpredictable, but you can still plan for any outcome.