You made it! You survived your divorce and now it is time to get on with the business of living your life, but there are just a few more details that you do not want to overlook. Depending on how long you were married to your former spouse, their name is most likely all over your estate planning documents. You are probably the beneficiary of each other’s insurance policies, and your will. This is not something that you want to put off another day because until you make these changes, if something happens you, you want to make sure that your hard-earned assets get distributed exactly according to your wishes.
Here are five simple tips that you can follow to make sure that your estate plan is up-to-date after your divorce is final:
- Make a new will
If your former spouse is named as the primary beneficiary in your will, revoke it and make a new will naming new beneficiaries as you see fit. If you do not have a will, then make a will.
- Revise beneficiary designations
Dig out all of your insurance policies and update them naming your new beneficiaries. If you and your former spouse have children together and you still want them to be a beneficiary on your life insurance, then you will have to fill out new beneficiary designations to make your intentions clear. Your parenting plan might have required you to designate your former spouse or someone else as the “trustee” for the children until they reach the age of majority.
- Create a new “Advance Care Plan” or appoint a Health Care Agent
Tennessee recognizes two forms of written advance care directives for health care decision making. You create these documents that let your doctors and loved ones know what your wishes are if there should come a time when you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. Typically, couples name each other in the Advance Care Plan or their Appointment of Health Care Agent. If that is the case, you will have to revise the forms and name someone else to that role for you. Discuss your wishes with your doctor and your new health care proxy to make sure that your wishes are honored when you can’t speak for yourself. Once you have finalized the papers, give a copy to your primary care physician to include in your records.
- Revise any Powers of Attorney
You will want to review any powers of attorney, revocable trusts, bank accounts in both of your names, brokerage accounts with “pay on death” provisions and make sure those documents are updated and accurate.
- Update the titles to property
After your divorce make sure that new deeds are made in the name of the person who will be retaining ownership. Update the titles and the insurance policies on your vehicles so that they are in accord with your property settlement agreement. If your spouse is retaining ownership of the primary marital home, make sure that they refinance the mortgage to remove your name.
These are just a few items to think about. Depending on your situation there may be other items that need your attention after your divorce. This is why it makes sense to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney who can advise you given the facts of your specific situation.
Revising your estate plan after divorce can be complex. At the Law Office of LaFevor & Slaughter, we help our clients remain up-to-date with the provisions they have made for a secure financial future. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.