Getting a divorce is not only an emotionally difficult time, but it’s also financially complicated and requires that you make many decisions. Filing for divorce includes filling out the appropriate papers and submitting them to the court. But, there are many other issues that require resolution. If you wish to meet your legal obligations to your spouse while exercising as much control over your assets as possible, you need to address your estate plan. Talk to your estate planner regarding the following documents:
Your Will: This document will likely require revision. You may wish to remove the provisions for your ex-spouse, appoint a new executor and trustee and update your beneficiary designations. Leave a letter of intent with your estate planner so your desires are made clear.
Your Trust is an estate planning tool that determines how property is owned during your life and distributed after your death. A trust can be revocable (you can make changes) or irrevocable (unable to be changed). Discuss your trust(s) with your estate planner to determine whether changes can and/or should be made.
Power of Attorney: Your ex-spouse is likely your power of attorney. You may wish to execute a new power of attorney naming a friend, relative or trusted advisor to act as your agent regarding your finances and assets.
Your Medical Directive, or living will, is a document that is used to express your health care wishes when you are unable to personally communicate instructions. You may wish to update this document so that your ex-spouse is no longer your designated health care proxy.
Guardianship Papers: With the help of your estate planner, set up a revocable trust for your minor children naming someone you have confidence in as trustee, the person who will access and control the money for your children in the event of your death. You may want to name someone other than your ex-spouse as the guardian.
Insurance Documents: Review, with your estate planner, your obligation to maintain life insurance under the divorce agreement. Make any changes necessary.
If you are considering divorce, make sure your estate planner is part of your team as you navigate the divorce process. They can review the divorce settlement and look for any gaps. They will determine the impact of divorce on your retirement and make sure your heirs are adequately provided for in the event of your ex’s death. Your estate planner will guarantee that you and your estate are protected.
MacMillan Estate Planning offers a holistic approach to estate planning with all the people, processes, and technology that you need to plan your estate – either in person or virtually. Our team of lawyers, accountants, financial planners and counsellors offer a refreshing alternative to the banks, law firms and accountancy firms. Register for one of our upcoming seminars. You can also take advantage of our complimentary virtual consultations; call us or email us: 1-833-266-6464 and firstname.lastname@example.org.