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Why you should change your estate plan if you plan to divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2017 | Estate Planning

If you are in the process of divorcing your partner or waiting for the ink to dry on your decree, you must remember to update your estate plans. All too often soon-to-be divorcees in the Charlotte area think they do not have to modify their estate plans because they will no longer be married. Unfortunately, some of them learn the hard way that divorces do not change estate plans. You must do it yourself. 

If you die before your divorce is finalized, your loved ones and children may not receive their inheritances. To avoid complications with your estate that can occur when you die, review the following reasons why divorce requires you to revise your end-of-life plans. 

Is your power of attorney up-to-date? 

If you forget to change your plans and something happens where you require power of attorney to preside over your financial and medical affairs, you could end up with your former spouse in charge of things. Check your health care and financial power of attorney documents to ensure they reflect your current choice of person to act as your attorney-in-fact. 

Who will receive your life insurance and bank account funds? 

If you made your ex-spouse the beneficiary of your life insurance and retirement accounts or the joint owner of your bank accounts, he or she might receive those funds when you pass away, regardless of what you have documented in your estate plans. Revise those designations and consider creating trusts to gift your loved ones and intended heirs with those proceeds. 

Who will raise your children? 

If you have valid concerns about your ex-partner raising your kids if you die before they become grown or are able to care for themselves, choose several people to become their guardians. You might have reason to believe that your ex-spouse will harm or abuse your kids or be an incompetent parent. The individuals you choose will not automatically receive guardianship if your former spouse is still alive at the time of your death. But, if you include an official letter to the courts in your estate plans to inform the courts about your concerns, they will take them into consideration. 

Estate plans do not just ensure the seamless transfer of your estate. They also help to ensure your children and loved ones are cared for in the best capacity possible with any funds you have set aside for them. Protect your legacy and your loved ones’ future by remembering to immediately revise your estate plans after your divorce.

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I am savvy financially, but had no clue about the divorce process. Through it all, Ms. Kennedy and her staff have been there for me and my kids.

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