After the divorce: Modifying your estate plan

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Creating an estate plan is a huge relief. We do it, file it away and hope that no one needs to pull it out for a long, long time.

But if you’re a recently divorced resident of Florida, it’s time to pull it out again and update it. If you don’t, your ex-spouse could wind up with all of your assets and that’s probably not what you’d want.

Doing this is best accomplished by sitting down with your estate planning attorney. Start by giving your attorney a copy of your divorce decree for review. Your divorce agreement could include, for example, requirements such as maintaining a life insurance policy with your ex-spouse as a beneficiary to provide for adequate funds for your child’s education.

After that, your attorney likely will review some, if not all, of these estate planning elements:

  • Your will or trust. You likely don’t want your ex-spouse to receive your assets or be the executor of your estate.
  • Your health care proxy. Your proxy is the person who will make decisions about your medical treatment if you can’t do it on your own. A parent, sibling or adult child might be the person you prefer now.
  • Your power of attorney. This is the person you want in charge of financial affairs if you can’t take care of them yourselves.
  • Guardian of your children. You might have been given sole custody of your children because the court found your ex-spouse an unfit parent. Naming a guardian is essential to give the courts guidance on who you think could best raise your children. At the same time, set up a trust for your children naming someone trustworthy to handle the money you leave for your kids’ care.
  • Your beneficiaries. Your financial accounts, life insurance policies and retirement funds should have substitute beneficiaries named if you don’t want your ex-spouse to gain more money than was granted in the divorce.

Divorce is emotionally draining, and you might forget about the estate plan. It’s crucial to remember to update those documents, however.