It’s so easy to forget the importance of examining your estate planning in the middle of a divorce, when you are preoccupied with sorting out all the legal affairs that come with your change of status. Regardless of your circumstances, however, you cannot overlook estate planning—especially if you want to make sure that you are ready for your new life once the divorce proceedings are done.
In this article, you will discover why estate planning is important after a divorce.
Why is estate planning important?
One of the toughest things about divorce is that it dissolves the very nature of marriage, where two people are joined together and the lines between who owns what are blurred. But let’s face it: Once you get a divorce and your marriage breaks down, you need to revisit your estate planning, unless you want your ex to be the last person to get all your assets when you die!
Admit it—when you married your partner, you trusted him so much that you granted him access and control over all the aspects of your life, including your will, delegations, trusteeships, powers-of-attorney, real estate. Everything! Now that you are divorced, however, you no longer want him to have access to these or have control over any aspect of your life, including all your legal and financial affairs.
So how do you take that right away from him? By revisiting your estate planning.
After a divorce, it is imperative that you create a thorough list of all your legal and financial documents and responsibilities. Why? Because a separation or divorce does not automatically void legal documents prepared during your marriage! Well, that is what most people assume, but that is not really the case. So if you don’t want your ex to be the person responsible for any life and death decision on your behalf after your passing, you need to get on with your real estate planning really fast.
What are the things you should consider?
When planning your estate, you need to consider a lot of things. Yes, you are doing this to remove your ex’s access to your legal and financial affairs, but there are instances when no matter how angry you feel about him, it is almost never wise to opt for full disinheritance.
Oh, did that make it sound more complicated than it already is? Well, that’s just how complicated it really is. So before you embark on your estate planning, considering doing the following:
· Create a new Will
Just because you are currently separated does not mean your Will is already void. In fact, if you are not yet legally divorced, your Will remains valid and will still be enforced if ever anything happens to you. That means your ex will receive everything you had intended him to receive when you were still happily married, which is just about everything you own! To make sure your properties are in good hands, come up with a new Will that clearly states all your wishes for your estate.
· Nominate a new Executor for your Will
If you die without nominating an executor following your divorce, the Court will automatically nominate someone to administer your estate. That means you will not be able to have your estate handled as you might have wished. Following a divorce, appoint someone you trust. That person will be responsible for executing all your personal affairs.
· Change your beneficiaries
Your beneficiary is the person to be paid with your assets when you die. Since you’re already divorced, it only makes sense that you don’t want your ex to be among your beneficiaries! But since you most likely nominated him when you were still married, it’s best that you change your beneficiaries as soon as your divorce is final. Revisit your superannuation and life insurance and the many other assets you have set up during your marriage and check with your financial adviser if there’s anything you might have missed. Remember that in matters such as this, it is crucial that you leave no stone unturned.
· Change your power of attorney
When you married your spouse, you nominated him as your power of attorney, which only makes sense since you thought he would be your life partner. Now that you are divorced, however, you cannot let him make decisions on your financial, legal, and health matters if you cannot make them yourself. To take this right away from him, delegate a new power of attorney to someone you can entrust your life and assets to—your parent, child, sibling,–anyone but your ex.
One of the best things you can do for yourself following a divorce is to restore order to the foundations of your future. To do this, you need to reprioritize your strategies to protect your assets and loved ones in the event of your death or if you suddenly lose capacity. A lawyer specializing in estate planning can help you come up with an estate plan that is tailored to your needs. You can check here some of the most experienced and accredited specialists in this area.