Divorce is never easy. It is not only hard on your emotions, but it gives you a big to-do list that may feel stressful. One of the most important things to take care of is your estate plan.
You should analyze your estate planning documents and update them as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your ex-spouse may inherit a significant portion of your assets. The process may feel intimidating, but there are just a few simple steps you should take.
1. Update your will
Your ex may have a lot of roles in your will. It is common to name a spouse as an executor or guardian, but do you really want him or her to be responsible for your estate or your children? Name a new executor and designate an alternate guardian. You may also want to change any language that gives your spouse any assets. Consider whether you want to disinherit your spouse altogether.
2. Change your power of attorney
Perhaps you named your spouse as a power of attorney or health care proxy. If you gave your spouse any of these duties, you may be in trouble if something happens to you. You probably do not want your ex to make medical or financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Name someone new as soon as you can.
3. Review beneficiary designations
Chances are you have one or more of these:
- Retirement account
- Life insurance policy
- Pay-on-death bank accounts
If you do, you probably have beneficiaries for them. These people will inherit the designated amount of assets when you pass away. These assets are not included in your will, so make sure you update them separately.
It may seem like you have a never-ending list of things to do, but it is better to update your estate plan sooner rather than later. These three tips are a good place to start.