How do I Prepare my Estate Plan for a Divorce in New York?

After a major life event occurs, it is important to update your estate plan. This can include situations of divorce. When preparing for divorce, there are certain ways that you can also prepare your estate plan. Continue reading to learn more and contact an experienced New York estate planning attorney for assistance.

Update Your Health Care Proxy

It is impossible to predict the future. That is why it is important to be prepared for anything. If a serious car accident or life-changing illness happens, a trusted individual should be in place to take care of your medical decisions. Usually, in a marriage, people appoint their spouse. However, when a divorce happens, this should be updated to a new person.

Change Your Power of Attorney

Spouses often appoint each other as their powers of attorney. If a spouse is your durable power of attorney, they have access to all accounts and assets. It is important that this is changed and a new power of attorney is appointed to ensure a soon-to-be former spouse can no longer have this access.

Find Out What Can be Changed

In some cases, spouses cannot make changes to certain documents. This may include a beneficiary designation of life insurance, retirement accounts or plans, and a pension during the divorce. Sometimes, these have to stay put until a divorce is final, but the things that can be changed should. 

Update Your Will

If possible, you should also update your will. This is to make sure your current spouse is not in charge of your estate and its administration. It can be changed by removing them as the executor.

Decide What You Want to Leave to Your Spouse

Spouses in a divorce sometimes want to disinherit their partner from receiving anything in the event of their incapacitation or death. However, in the state of New York, spouses are unable to disinherit their spouses or only leave them a small portion of the estate. The only way to protect certain assets is with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

Amend Your Trust

A revocable trust should be amended, if possible. These can contain assets and gifts made to the family. If you have minor children, you may want a revocable trust that names a trusted individual other than your spouse to maintain these assets. Otherwise, the children’s guardian will have control of the money for them after you die.

Revisit the Plan After the Divorce is Finalized

Once a divorce is final, the estate plan should be looked over again so that any other details that need to be updated can be. This ensures nothing is missing. Failure to do so can result in litigation and certain unintended consequences.

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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