Your divorce will drastically change your personal circumstances. From your living arrangements to your parenting obligations, almost everything in your life shifts after divorce.
You are more legally vulnerable as a single person after your divorce than you are as a married person with a spouse to speak or act on your behalf. What documents you do have in place are most likely estate documents created during your marriage. You will need to make some significant revisions to those documents to protect yourself and your family after your divorce.
Remove your ex as beneficiary
Most people leave the majority of their property to their spouse and children in their estate plans. Your documents likely include significant contributions for your spouse. You need to remove them as a beneficiary and reallocate those resources to other people in your family or inner circle.
Not only do you need to look at the estate documents, like your will and trust paperwork, but you also need to go back over insurance policies. Your beneficiary designations there can play an important role in determining who gets your benefits when you die.
Name someone else to act on your behalf
Maybe you never created powers of attorney because you assumed your spouse would handle financial and medical matters for you. If you did create powers of attorney, you may have named your spouse as the agent stepping up to take care of you.
Making sure that you remove your ex as your agent is important if you already had powers of attorney or a healthcare directive on record. Drafting those documents so that there is someone you trust to assume that legal authority is equally important if you don’t already have powers of attorney in place.
Reconsider your plan for your children
You may be less likely to need a guardian for your children after a divorce because the chances of you and your ex dying at the same time decrease substantially. Still, you need to think about guardianship for your children and address it in your will.
You also need to think about their inheritance and what kind of protection it may require. Putting assets for your children in a trust can help ensure that your ex will be unable to use those resources in most scenarios, which protects the inheritance for your children when they come of age.
Updating your estate plan so that it reflects your current family circumstances will help better protect you and preserve your values even after something happens to you.