So many areas of your life can change when you divorce that you may experience burnout. Many people feel overwhelmed with the number of forms they must file and companies they need to notify about their change in marital status.
Ignoring the details that don’t require immediate attention is a tempting thought. However, your estate plan from during your marriage will probably have a lot of shortcomings for your current situation. After a divorce, having a guardian is less crucial to the safety of children because it becomes less likely that both parents will die at the same time. Instead, other concerns arise that were not an issue while you were still married.
Making changes to your estate plan sooner rather than later will not only give you peace of mind but will help protect the legacy you want to leave for your children.
Remove your spouse as a beneficiary or authorized individual
You will want to review all of your estate planning documents for mention of your spouse. Your last will obviously will need changes so that they don’t receive a portion of your estate when you die. You may also need to change your power of attorney documents, beneficiary designations for life insurance and living will.
As much as you don’t want your ex to receive some of your property when you die, you likely also don’t want them to have financial or medical authority if you become incapacitated. Having someone who puts your interests first protects you and, by extension, your children.
Look at how you intend to pass property to your kids
During your marriage, you and your ex probably intended for one another to receive your property when you die and for everything else to pass to the children when both of you were no longer here. Now that you don’t want your spouse to receive your property, you may need to be more careful about how the inheritance will pass to the children.
If you die while your children are still minors, your ex will be the one who has control over all of your assets. They might use everything before your kids ever become adults. Creating a trust will protect the legacy you leave your children from your ex who will have sole authority.
It also gives you the opportunity to limit what your children spend the inheritance on, how much they spend at once or the circumstances in which they can access their inheritance. You might limit the funds to specific uses, like the down payment on a house, the costs of a business startup or college tuition. Reviewing your estate plan early in a divorce can protect your wishes and your children.