As a busy adult, it’s surprisingly easy to overlook important matters, especially when dealing with divorce’s emotional and logistical challenges. However, safeguarding your financial security and protecting your loved ones should be top priorities.
That’s where primary estate documents come into play. Do you know the essential estate documents you should have in place, especially if you’ve recently divorced?
The basic estate documents
Following a divorce, it’s crucial to update your will to reflect your current wishes and help to better ensure that your wealth goes to your chosen beneficiaries. Without a will, the state may make these decisions for you, which might not align with your preferences.
Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney allow you to entrust an individual with making decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This is especially important following a divorce because your ex-spouse may no longer be the person you want making these critical decisions.
Advance directives outline your preferences for medical care, particularly in critical or end-of-life situations. They consist of two primary components: a living will and the designation of a healthcare proxy. It’s essential to update these documents post-divorce to reflect your current wishes.
Why you need these documents after divorce
You may no longer want your ex-spouse to inherit your assets. Moreover, your estate plan will need to reflect your new family dynamics. For instance, you may want to designate new guardians if you have minor children.
Additionally, you may prefer a different person to make your healthcare decisions if you’re unable to do so. Updating your basic estate documents following a divorce can help to ensure that your wishes are respected and the right people are in charge of your affairs. Therefore, you should carefully review your existing documents and make the necessary revisions at your earliest convenience. This way, you can update beneficiary designations, executor appointments and any references to your ex-spouse.
Remember, seeking professional legal advice when updating your estate documents is advisable. A professional can help you navigate all legal requirements and help to ensure your documents are enforceable and drafted in ways that reflect your interests.