Divorce is challenging for everyone involved. There are many things you must consider when going through a divorce, and some might not even be obvious at first.
Updating your estate plan is likely one of them. If you and your partner are in the process of divorce, you must take the time to reevaluate your estate plan in light of this significant change in your life.
Here are some things you should consider changing while going through a divorce:
- Your will – Your ex-spouse is likely listed as an executor of your will and estate plan. Make sure to remedy this as soon as possible, so they are no longer in charge of your estate after your death.
- Your healthcare proxy – Just as on your will, your ex-spouse is likely your immediate healthcare proxy or the person who will make decisions for you in case you are incapacitated. Establish a new proxy who can make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot.
- Your power of attorney – A power of attorney (POA) typically handles financial decisions when you are unable to due to a disability or illness. If your POA is your spouse, it’s important to update that during your divorce.
- Your life insurance policies and retirement accounts – Similarly, these are other relevant documents that you should update during a divorce to shield these assets from distribution to an ex.
- The assets you want to leave your spouse – When initially creating your estate plan, you may have left a lot of your property to your spouse. New York courts typically allow equitable distribution, meaning you and your spouse will likely split your assets evenly during your divorce. Still, it’s best to make sure you remove anything else you do not want to give your spouse from your estate plan as well.
Your estate plan should reflect your wishes upon your death, and divorce can change your opinions drastically. Don’t wait too long to update your estate plan during your divorce so you can protect your assets and wishes for the future.