In your divorce proceedings, the New York family court will make great efforts toward dividing up assets between you and your former spouse. But one thing that is not separated in this process is your estate plans. So, this is something you must carry out independently. Continue reading to learn why you should update your estate plan after your divorce and how an experienced Putnam County estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can assist you in doing so.
Why should I update my estate plan after my divorce?
More likely than not, when you were establishing your estate plan while you were still married, you likely incorporated your spouse into a lot of your wishes. For example, you may have named them as the agent of your healthcare proxy. Meaning, they may still have the authority to make critical medical decisions on your behalf. In addition, you may have appointed them as a beneficiary of your will. This means that they may still have a right to a significant proportion of your property if you pass on.
With that being said, after your divorce, you may want to cut these final ties with your former spouse and instead prioritize different individuals (i.e., your children, your new spouse, your close friends and family members, etc.) in your estate planning documents.
What parts of my estate plan should I change?
You must understand that your estate planning documents do not automatically update when your divorce is finalized. Rather, you will have to look back at them and make the changes yourself. The same goes for your individual retirement account, life insurance policy, and Social Security insurance. Below are examples of what to change in your estate plan:
- Draft a separate will if you and your former spouse have a mirror will, and then void the mirror will.
- Remove the assets that you lost in your divorce from your will (i.e., your car) and add the ones you gained afterward (i.e., your new house).
- Remove your former spouse as the beneficiary of your will and appoint new individuals that have entered your life (i.e., your newborn children, your adopted children, your stepchildren, etc).
- Remove your former spouse as the beneficiary of your retirement assets and appoint new individuals that have entered your life (i.e., your new spouse, your new life partner, etc).
- Remove your former spouse as the trustee of your trust and appoint a reliable individual.
- Remove your former spouse as the agent of your power of attorney and appoint a reliable individual.
It should go without saying that you must consult with a skilled Putnam County estate planning attorney immediately. Give us a call whenever you can.