Going through a divorce can be incredibly stressful. Even the smoothest of divorces ends in great change for everyone involved, especially when you have children. Your daily routine and obligations have changed and it is time to forge a new road despite this shift of normalcy. It may feel uncomfortable and confusing but now is the time to pick yourself up and reevaluate your future goals. One of the first matters to address in your new normal is your estate plan. You likely established the original plan with your spouse as the person to take care of things should you become incapacitated or in the event of your death. It is quite common to leave most assets, if not everything, to your spouse, including naming him or her as the power of attorney and as the person to handle healthcare decisions if you should become incapacitated. After a life changing event such as divorce, your future is looking a bit different and your estate plan should reflect that. Below is some helpful information intended to assist you in making important updates that may protect your estate.
How divorce changes my estate– Whether you are currently going through the divorce process or it is finalized, you likely have gone through your estate with your attorney and/or with your former spouse. Any assets and debts that were shared are now divided. It is important to make a list of those assets that belong to your former spouse and those that you own as a result of the divorce. It is also a good idea to organize any debt that is now yours, as most estate plans identify your wishes for debt resolution.
Estate planning modifications– It is imperative to consider any changes to your estate since your divorce. Things to consider include assets, financials such as any debts and other income or savings that are now officially yours as a result of the divorce, and naming the power of attorney for health decisions. If you have a will, it is advised that you take a look and make changes as you deem necessary and prudent. The list of your assets and debts will come in handy when modifying your original estate plan and will. It may be necessary to take out items that went to your former spouse and to modify the beneficiaries that are listed. In addition, your debt may have changed and the estate plan should reflect that. An estate attorney can assist you in making these changes and any others that are necessary based on your specific goals and wishes for your estate in the future.
An estate attorney can help- In the event of a life changing circumstance such as divorce, it is necessary to protect yourself, your children and your assets. An up-to-date estate plan will help you to organize and decide what will happen to your belongings after you pass away and will identify a plan for debt resolution. These decisions can be overwhelming and the paperwork can be complicated. It is recommended that you consult with experienced divorce lawyers Austin, TX turns to who can guide you through the intricacies of your divorce and estate plan and all of paperwork associated with it.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into estate planning and divorce.