Uncertainty can add stress to any relationship. In light of the current global health crisis, potential job loss, demands of working from home and financial market shifts can shatter your long-term hopes and dreams, as well as your day-to-day existence. As a couple, these unfortunate external factors could lead you down the path to divorce.
On top of dealing with all the changes taking place around you, you probably do not have much time to think about anything other than reaching favorable settlement terms. Though, even after you dissolve your marriage, there are some things you should do to protect your interests.
Three considerations for updating your estate plan
If you established your estate plan while married, you likely designated your assets to your spouse. Moving forward, you would be wise to consider whether you still want your ex to manage your financial or healthcare decisions.
Depending on your situation, you might have financial ties to your former partner for many years to come. Although you must adhere to a court’s decision, there are some ways you can minimize your ex’s say over you and your estate, in the event of your incapacitation or death.
Some of the things you should think about include:
- Your will and trust. You will likely rather name another trusted friend or family member as your estate executor and trustee. Meanwhile, this would be a good time to establish a trust for your children, if you believe your ex cannot adequately handle their finances until they become adults.
- Beneficiary designations. Your divorce agreement may specify terms for your retirement accounts or life insurance policies. Be sure you designate your beneficiaries accordingly.
- Your power of attorney. Who would you like to act on your behalf? Since there are a variety of authorizations you can give your power of attorney, it would be in your best interest to authorize a trustworthy person to handle matters such as paying bills or selling your real property. If you prefer, you may also give someone the right to carry out your healthcare wishes.
Making sure your documents are current and accurate is a powerful way to communicate your wishes and minimize contention among your loved ones. After all, keeping your interests in mind is imperative far beyond your divorce.