Estate Planning After Divorce

If you have gone through or are currently going through a divorce, your to-do list may seem overwhelming.  However, it is important to make sure you consider updating your existing estate plan as you work through this process.  There are a few quick changes that can be made during the divorce process, while other changes may need to wait until your divorce is finalized.

1. Revoke your existing financial and health care powers of attorney and renew with updated designations.  You likely do not want your former spouse managing medical and financial decisions on your behalf.  These changes can be made even before your divorce has been finalized.

2. Update beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies.  Many times, these designations cannot be altered during the course of the divorce process, but it is a good idea to check to make sure.  Once your divorce has been finalized, you should be able to move forward with changes as you wish.

3.  Update your existing will or trust to appoint a new executor or trustee, beneficiaries, and a backup guardian if you have minor children.  If you have an existing will or trust, you likely appointed your spouse to the role of executor or trustee.  Now that you have decided to divorce, you may wish to select a different individual to manage your assets upon your death.  You will also likely leave your assets to your children or other family and friends once your divorce is finalized.

For more tips on managing your estate plan during and after divorce, a recent article in Forbes provides a helpful checklist.