Are you going through a breakup or divorce? Have you gone through one since you drafted your estate plan? If so, this means you have some legal aspects to work through in order to protect your family and your own future.
If you already have an estate plan, revising your current plant will be an essential step. This is because breakups and divorces bring a change of assets and who you may wish to give those assets to after you pass. On the bright side, you can absolutely revise your estate plan to get these changes sorted out.
Remember that only with the most relevant estate plan set in place can you ensure optimal protection in favor of your future as well as your future passing, and in turn, the family you wish to protect.
Revising Your Estate Plan After a Breakup or Divorce:
Everyone knows that the end of a relationship can be messy emotionally. However, throwing in the legal side to it, it’s even more stressful.
Post-divorce is a good time to review your estate plan. Here are some of the main things you’ll want to keep in mind when seeking to revise your estate plan after a major change like a divorce:
1. Revoking and rewriting your will or trust
One of the first steps in revising your estate plan during or after a divorce is rewriting your will or trust with the goal to remove your ex as an executor or trustee. Replace your executor or trustee with someone else you love and trust. However, do keep in mind that revoking and rewriting a trust isn’t always an easy process.
When looking over your will or trust with an attorney, it is also important to be mindful of the wording of your document. There may need to be further alterations to completely protect your assets from potentially being given to your ex after your passing.
2. Consider getting a trust if you only have a will
If you have a will but lack a trust, you might want to get one – especially if there are minor children in the picture. Having a trust alongside a will can provide extra protection to ensure your assets are not distributed to your ex after you pass, and even better, that your children are instead provided with such assets.
In fact, there are benefits a trust has that a will doesn’t:
- Can reduce estate taxes
- Can allow you to avoid the probate process
- Can offer creditor protection for inheritance
- Can safeguard Government disability benefits
- Can dispense assets to minors without the need to go through a court
3. Changing the designations of your beneficiaries
Chances are your ex is assigned as a designator for life insurance policies, financial accounts, and/or real estate. That said, it’s time to change your beneficiary designations. You might consider making your beneficiary the same as your trustee.
If you plan on making a minor a beneficiary, know that minors will require a guardian. In that case, you’ll want to prevent the court from potentially appointing your ex-spouse as the guardian, so be sure to set someone else as the guardian.
4. Replacing the power of attorney
If your ex is currently appointed as power of attorney, this means they may have the power to sell your property, take funds from your bank accounts and other financial accounts, manage business transactions, make health care decisions on your behalf, the list goes on. The powers they have will depend on what type of power of attorney they have been granted.
Chances are you won’t want your ex to have power of attorney at all. In that case, revoke your ex from power of attorney, replacing him or her with someone else you can trust to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
In the end, reviewing your estate plan is still an important step. Speaking with an attorney is the only way for you to know what you need to revise, how you need to revise it, and what you can even revise, to begin with.
If you have any questions about revising an estate plan after a breakup or divorce or want to get right into the revision process, contact our Idaho Estate Planning office.