The last year has presented a host of unprecedented challenges. You may have faced job loss, life-threatening medical concerns and isolation from your regular social circles.
The stress of 2020 also took a toll on many marriages – resulting in a 34% spike in divorce rates compared to the previous year. When going through a divorce, it is natural to focus on its immediate implications – such as property division, alimony and child custody. But it’s equally important to address any necessary changes to the long-term plans you have in place.
Changes to address in your estate plan
Whenever you or a family member goes through a major life change – from divorce to childbirth – it’s important to reevaluate your estate plan. If you are divorcing, you will likely want to update your:
- Designated health care proxy: If you should become incapacitated, you likely don’t want your ex making health care decisions on your behalf.
- Power of attorney: If your ex-spouse is listed as a durable power of attorney, they could have access to your accounts and assets. You’ll probably want to amend this designation.
- Beneficiaries: You probably don’t want your ex-spouse inheriting your wealth after you pass away. This may also apply to any stepchildren that were previously included in your will.
- Prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: If this agreement detailed any inheritance your spouse stood to receive in the event of your death, this should be amended to match your estate plan and your wishes in light of the divorce.
There is no question that a divorce can be an overwhelming process – and it’s easy to overlook how your will and other estate planning documents will be impacted. That’s why working with a lawyer experienced in both family law and estate planning can be so advantageous. They can help you to holistically evaluate your life change – and ensure that all bases are covered.