Were you one of the many people who rushed to divorce in 2018 before the new tax laws affecting spousal support were put in place? If so, you may have neglected a few important tasks. Specifically, it’s time to revisit your estate plans.
Here are the top things that experts suggest you need to keep in mind when doing your post-divorce estate planning:
1. You need a new medical proxy
If you were like most married people, you probably gave your spouse your medical power of attorney in case you were ever unable to speak for yourself. Unless you’ve remained on great terms with your ex-spouse, it’s time to select someone new. Consider a sibling, a cousin, a best friend or an adult child instead.
2. Your financial power of attorney also needs changed
You probably thought to remove your spouse’s name from your bank accounts, stock accounts, annuities and insurance policies — but did you remember to revoke his or her power of attorney over your finances in an emergency? Many people assume that divorce automatically terminates such agreements, but that isn’t so.
4. Your estate planner needs to see your divorce agreement
Some divorce agreements include obligations that extend beyond death. For example, you may have pension or insurance payments that are owed to your ex-spouse, especially if your marriage had endured for a while. Similarly, you may be obligated to pay off certain debts you and your spouse held together — and that could create a liability for your estate that needs to be addressed.
5. You need to revise your beneficiaries and your will
Finally, you need to make sure that your will reflects your current situation. You should also carefully go through the beneficiary documents on all your assets — just in case something got skipped and your spouse is still listed.
Fortunately, you don’t have to handle all of these things on your own. An attorney with experience handling estate plans can guide you through this critical post-divorce process.