There are several estate planning steps to consider taking after divorce:
- Revoke your will and make a new one
Start by revoking your old will and making a new one. If you don’t already have a will, now is a good time to make one. In it you should:
- Leave property
If you made a will while you were married, you may have left everything to your spouse. You probably want to change that now. You can start with a new will naming new beneficiaries and alternates.
- Name an executor
- Nominate a guardian to care for young children
A key reason that many parents of young children make wills is to name a guardian to raise their children in the event that neither parent was available. A court will appoint a guardian to care for a child only if both parents are deceased or unfit. Under most circumstances, the other parent will be the custodian of the children, however it is still important to have a back-up plan.
- Update Beneficiary Designations
Many assets pass outside of a will to beneficiaries named on bank or insurance paperwork. Update your beneficiary designations for:
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s
- Pay-on-death bank accounts
- Transfer-on-death brokerage accounts
To name a new person to inherit these assets, update beneficiary documents from your bank, brokerage company, or employer.
- Make New Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney are documents that give someone authority to act for you. You should consider having two powers of attorney: one for medical decisions and one for finances. If you have powers of attorney that give your former spouse authority, revoke them and make new ones. For your estate planning needs, consult with an experienced attorney.