Estate planning allows you to control the distribution of your assets after your death. However, the priorities outlined in a will or trust often change after the end of a marriage. That’s why it’s crucial to scrutinize your estate plans going forward after divorce.
One of the first steps you can take is to have your estate planning attorney here in Colorado examine your divorce decree to see the obligations you have to your ex-spouse.
Essential estate planning issues to consider
While divorce can cause many strong and negative feelings, protecting your financial future should be a priority and include updating these documents:
- Health care proxy: If your former spouse has this role, decide whether you want your ex to be making health care decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.
- Power of attorney: If your ex has this role, consider revoking the document and choose a friend, relative or trusted advisor to handle your finances and assets.
- Revise wills or trusts: Remove your ex as executor and trustee, and you may want to rewrite the document so he or she will not receive any assets.
- Guardianship for minor children: Your former spouse will likely serve as guardian for your children whether you name them or not, unless a court determines they are unfit. If your ex has substance abuse issues, or other behavior putting your children at risk, you can name another guardian.
- Create a trust for children: A trust allows you to control your children’s finances if you die. A revocable trust enables you to name someone to manage the fund and keeps your ex from controlling the money.
- Life insurance: Policies are usually required for spouses paying alimony or child support. Make sure your ex names you as the beneficiary and stays current on paying premiums.
- Review beneficiaries: Make sure retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and IRAs comply with your divorce agreement and are updated accordingly.
Make sure your estate plan fits your new life and future wishes
Once your divorce is final, it’s essential to take immediate steps to protect your future financial health. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Colorado can review your settlement and find the best plan that will meet your needs going forward, and honor your wishes for how assets will be distributed to those you love.