Amid the chaos of a divorce, it is easy to forget about your estate plan. You can become so focused on dividing property, working out child custody agreements and sorting out your present, that you forget about your long-term future.
Estate plans are not something you make once and never need to touch again. You should update them every time there is a significant event in your life and revisit them every year or so to ensure they reflect your current situation.
These are some of the areas to focus on when updating your estate plan:
- What you leave: You will probably have fewer assets after your divorce than before. Failing to update your plan to take account of this could create confusion should you die.
- Who you leave it to: While you can still leave everything to your ex, you may not want to. If you had stepchildren, you might also wish to remove them from your will.
- How you will leave it: Divorce may leave you with outstanding debts. Should you die, your creditors may be able to claim against your estate. There are specific types of trust available to ensure you can protect your estate if you die before paying those debts.
- Who will make decisions on your behalf if you cannot: An accident or illness could happen at any time that leaves you incapable of making decisions. Ensure you give someone power of attorney to do this for you.
Updating your estate plan may not seem like a priority when going through a divorce. Yet, it is vital, as you can never predict when it will be needed. An attorney can help you get things in order.