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What Does Divorce Have To Do With Estate Planning?

Hi Everyone,

Happy Wednesday!!! I’m choosing to ignore the snow that was on the ground this morning and focus on the fact that Spring is in fact coming. It just so happens, so is our latest Spring seminar! Tomorrow at 6:30, I will am presenting Estate Planning Basics at the Norfolk Public Library. Registration should be done through the Norfolk Recreation Department at www.virtualnorfolk.org/rec but please feel free to pass the information along or let me know if you are coming.

I also want to take this time to wish everybody this week a happy holiday, whether you’re celebrating Easter or Passover, we are wishing you a very happy time with your families!

This week we are going to talk about Estate Planning and Divorce.

Going through a divorce can be one of the most tumultuous and disrupting experiences for a family. All of a sudden things can be drastically different, the family unit changed forever. Finances need to be sorted and decisions need to be made.

Something that quite regularly is ignored in the midst of this craziness is creating a new estate plan. Below are the top 3 reasons why somebody should create a new estate plan after divorcing:

  1. You need a new decision maker for crisis situations: after a separation it’s important to consider who, in essence, is going to be your new emergency contact. Suddenly your partner is no longer an option and this role needs filling. While this decision is difficult it’s necessary to appoint a medical proxy, somebody who will make important medical decisions for you if necessary.

  2. You need a new decision maker for your finances: equally important as your medical decisions, is your financial decisions. It’s important to update your Power of Attorney. This is the person who will care for your assets in case you are unable to do so. It will also be necessary for you to decide who will inherit your assets upon your passing. Final asset distribution needs to be revisited in your Last Will and Testament or your Revocable Living Trust.

  3. You need to change your beneficiary designations: quite commonly I see folks maintain their ex-spouses as beneficiaries on bank accounts and life insurance policies. Now, if it’s court-ordered that a policy must remain in place as collateral for child support or alimony – keep the policy in place! However, don’t simply hand over funds if it’s not necessary. Update your accounts to reflect those whom you’d actually like to see receive your money.

Separations are full of transitions. A new estate plan can be the last thing one wants to think about. Yet, it’s important to be sure you know and trust whoever may be at the helm of your assets and your life. It’s important to always put forth your best advocate.

If you happen to know of anybody who has gone through a divorce and you’re not quite sure if they’ve updated their estate plan, simply ask. If the answer is no, consider forwarding them this post, or feel free to forward my contact information. I’d love to speak with anybody out there who is looking for start a fresh.

Until next time.

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