Going through a divorce can bring about changes to every aspect of your life, including your estate plan. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they need to make changes to the documents in their estate plans once their marriages end, which opens the door for all sorts of issues. While you may not have to make changes to everything in your estate plan, you should be sure to update the documents that are impacted by the dissolution of your marriage.
Medical power of attorney
In most cases, people choose their spouses to be their medical power of attorney. After all, your spouse is the person you trust the most to make decisions regarding your medical care if you become incapacitated. However, if your marriage ends, you may not want to leave your ex in charge of making decisions on your behalf regarding life support and other medical directives. Even if your divorce was not contentious, it may be an uncomfortable situation for both of you and should probably be updated.
Financial power of attorney
In the same vein, you may want to name someone else as your financial power of attorney after a divorce. You have the option to name an all-encompassing power of attorney or one who only has power over certain financial areas. Either way, you may not be comfortable having your former spouse in such an important position.
Guardianship of minors
Even if you and the other parent of your children end your marriage, you should have a plan in place for their care if you both pass away or become incapacitated. No matter how unfortunate it is, divorce changes your relationship with friends and family members, so the person who was originally named as the guardian of your children may not still be a viable option due to the wishes of one parent. Be sure to update this aspect of your estate plan to ensure that your children are still cared for.
Estate planning and updating important documents are largely legal processes that should include the assistance of an attorney. A lawyer can help you gather the information needed to compile an estate plan and file the documents with the court.