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The Final Steps to Completing Your Divorce
You are in the midst of an often painful divorce. Certainly your estate plan is the last thing on your mind. But this is a significant issue which is often overlooked and has significant ramifications.
So you didn’t plan on being divorced…?
No one enters into marriage assuming they will end up divorced. Circumstances change and marriages end. Assuming you didn’t foresee this, your estate plans likely don’t address this either. It may seem obvious that you no longer want your ex-spouse to manage your affairs or inherit your money after death, but if your documents direct this, then that is exactly what will happen.
If your healthcare directives, beneficiary designations, and/or power of attorney still list your ex in an authority position, then he or she is still designated to take on that role. This can become quite tricky in situations where the divorce was not amicable. Do you want your ex-spouse to make the decision on the proverbial “pulling of the plug”?
After your divorce, run don’t walk, to your estate planning attorney to update these documents!
Last Will and Testament
Missouri DOES have laws in place that automatically revoke any provisions in your will that are in favor of an ex-spouse from whom you are divorced. (§474.420 R.S.Mo.) However, if you have minor children, you will want to review your appointed guardians.
Powers of Attorney
These documents determine appoint the person who will be in charge of matters such as your finances should you become unable to take care of yourself. The power of attorney gives the named party significant financial power, and so this appointment should be reconsidered after your divorce.
Your healthcare directive names the party who you have designated to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so yourself. If left as is, your ex-spouse would be responsible for making life-or-death decisions for you. You should consider revising this after your divorce.
Most insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, car titles etc. include designations of a beneficiary. This designated person will receive the proceeds or property as directed upon your death. It is easy to forget about these things, but if you don’t update them after the divorce, these specific designations remain intact.
Protecting Your Property During Divorce in More Ways Than One
One of the most important issues addressed during a divorce is marital property division. You want to walk away with your fair share of the house, the cars, retirement funds and more. However, the protection of your property should not end there. At The Roberts Law Firm, P.C., we handle one of the most overlooked divorce issues: changing estate plans accordingly.
Adjustments to Wills and Other Documents · Changing Beneficiary Designation
After fighting to keep your share of the property, the last thing you want is for it to fall right back into the hands of your former spouse in the event of your death or incapacitation. Since our law firm also handles estate planning, we make certain that wills, powers of attorney, and other documents are changed accordingly.
Making these changes is not necessarily simple. For example, if you have children who are minors, you want to pass your assets down to them, but you don’t necessarily want your former spouse to have control over those assets. You may want to create a trust that allows a trustee to pass assets to your children in certain amounts throughout the years. We will take great care to review all of your options when it comes to divorce and estate planning.
Adjustments to Life Insurance
In addition to changes to your will and other documents, you will want to update the beneficiary information on any life insurance policies you possess. We have more than 25 years of experience helping people with divorce and estate planning, so you can be confident that we will not let you overlook anything.
Contact St. Louis, Missouri, Attorneys to Learn About Asset Protection in Divorce
For a free consultation on the most appropriate estate plan for you and your family, please contact Michelle White at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C.
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