Changing Your Estate Plan After Divorce
- What would happen if you died tonight?
- Who would care for your children?
- Would you have several family members fighting for that right?
- Does your estate have enough money to care for your children, or will they become a financial burden on their new caregiver?
- How about the things that you own — what will happen to that?
- Will it end-up getting tied-up in probate for years because you didn’t take the time to create an estate plan?
Why put your loved ones through that time, money, and hassle because you never took the time to put it all in a trust beforehand?
Since you can’t speak from the grave, you will be tearing your family apart with the stress and grief of your passing — plus the responsibilities you’ve left behind. These may seem like overly-dramatic questions and issues, but if you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, you know that these are very real considerations.
Steps you can take to prepare a post-divorce estate plan
The first thing to make sure of is that you have an experienced financial advisor. Your primary goal should be to make sure that, as you grow older, you are accomplishing your long-term financial goals. Additionally, find yourself a good estate planning attorney. His or her services should encompass the following services:
- If you have children, decide on and formally nominate a guardian to care for them if you are unable to. The problem is, if you don’t a judge — a stranger wearing a robe — will make the decision for you when and if that time comes.
- Create a will or trust. If you don’t decide who will get your stuff, someone else will.
- Make sure you and your former spouse have enough life insurance. What you think of as enough and what is really and truly enough should your spouse die may be entirely different amounts. Remember, child support and alimony ends upon the death of the obligor.
- Following a divorce, make sure your retirement and life insurance beneficiaries are always up to date. If you’ve been married for 10 years, does your life insurance name your former spouse as the beneficiary? Is that what you want?
- Make sure you have long-term care insurance if you need it. Financial advisors can help you to decide on this, but remember the earlier you get it, the cheaper it is.
Finally, you should have a power of attorney (POA) to handle all of your online accounts. Who is ensuring that successor trustees or executors have access to your online banking accounts to manage automatic payments? When you use an attorney to handle the finances of another, a copy of the POA goes into your file, but when you’re operating online, who is checking?
Once you have put your plan together, put all of it in one place. Even if you choose a disorganized drawer, all of the important paperwork, account statements, estate plan, life insurance, etc. is in one place and easy to find.
We don’t want to think about death — no one does — but the reality is inevitable. We don’t have a choice about that. What we do have a choice about is how we handle it, the dignity we grant ourselves, and the burdens, responsibilities, and mess that we leave behind to our loved ones.
Texas divorce lawyers charge less with flat rates and low fees
Clients going through a divorce case rarely have the time to focus on estate planning issues because they are going through the stress of divorce, working full time and raising their children. In today’s economy, too, there just isn’t $10,000 available to hire a lawyer to handle divorce and estate planning issues.
But spending anywhere from a few hundred to $2,500, you can get the tailored, professional, experienced help you need to cover all the basic points.