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March 14, 2020

Estate Planning Documents You Must Update After Getting Divorced

Posted in Uncategorized

Even if you have the best relationship with your ex after getting divorced, you still probably don’t want them to have important responsibilities related to your assets. That is why you must update your estate planning documents after getting divorced, so later on down the road you don’t risk your spouse being the person to manage your financial affairs and make crucial medical decisions.

Updating your estate plan may be more complicated than just shredding the original documents and starting anew, so consider speaking with an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ for more information before you begin. Here are examples of documents that you may need to change after divorcing from your spouse: 

Revocable Living Trust
If you created a revocable living trust for you and your children, then you have to read over these documents again after your divorce. It isn’t uncommon for couples to appoint each other as trustees or set up joint trusts together. If you chose your ex spouse as a trustee, then they will manage the assets within your trust after your passing. Additionally, you may have listed your ex as being a beneficiary to a big chunk of money, property, or other assets in the event of your death. As you can imagine, making changes should probably be a top priority. 

Last Will and Testament
Speak with your attorney about how soon you can make changes to your last will and testament. Depending on state law, you may be able to start making updates now, or you will have to wait until divorce has been finalized. If you created your will while married and left money or property to your ex, your state may consider this null and void in the future.

However, as your attorney may tell you, it can be risky to take this chance. Clauses that list your ex family members, such as in-laws, are likely to still stand. Based on your relationship with them after the divorce, you may want these clauses to remain the same or also make changes. 

Power of Attorney
You may have appointed your ex spouse as power of attorney for your finances and/or medical care. As you may already be aware, if you gave your ex these responsibilities, then they will have to manage your financials and make potential life-altering decisions about your well being if you became incapacitated or put into a coma due to an accident. To take this point further, imagine you were put on life-support because of a tragic accident. If your ex is still listed in your estate plan as the power of attorney for medical care, that means he or she will have to make the choice between continuing your life or removing you from support. 

Other Related Documents
Documents such as your life insurance policy, retirement accounts, pensions, investment accounts, and bank accounts may need to be updated to not include your ex spouse. Contact the companies for these policies and accounts, then request paperwork so you can update this information if needed. 

Thanks to Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning and updates to make after getting divorced.

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