Estate Documents After a Divorce
If have just been through a divorce, it’s likely that the last thing you are thinking about is your last will and testament. However, if you created any estate planning documents, including a will during the time of your marriage, you may want to consider updating these documents. Many estate litigation cases occur due to the fact that someone did not update their estate planning documents in a way that represented their wishes. If you believe that your family member’s estate planning documents did not represent their wishes, you should seek the advice of an experienced estate planning litigation attorney.
In order to avoid your family needing to go through estate planning litigation, here are some important considerations regarding your estate if you have just been through a divorce.
1. Consider Revoking Your Will, and Establishing a New Will
Your best course of action is to simply revoke your current will, and execute a new one. Do not rely on the state to distribute your property according to your wishes, a new will needs to be executed in order to ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries receive your estate according to your wishes. Consider the new property that you hold, or no longer hold, due to the divorce. Additionally, you may want to consider if you would like to change the named guardian for your children in your new will.
2. Consider a Living Trust
A living trust is different than a living will in many respects. While it can include different tax ramifications, and be more costly than a will, a living trust may be revocable during one’s lifetime or altered. Children can also be provided for after your death through a living trust. There are many advantages to a living trust, and visiting with an experienced estates and trusts attorney can help you understand what documents would be best for your unique situation after your divorce.
3. Update Your Beneficiary Designations
Make sure to update all of your beneficiary designations in all of your estate planning documents, as well as any other financial documents or accounts you may have. While it is important to update your will or trust, also consider all of the bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pensions, real estate or car title documents that you may want to update regarding beneficiary designations.
4. Update Your Powers of Attorney
If you have a designated power of attorney, it may be your ex-spouse. You should consider updating both your financial power of attorney as well as your health care power of attorney. Both of these power of attorney appointments work differently but hold a great deal of responsibility as it relates to your financial and physical health.
5. Final Considerations
Your parents or other family members may have included your ex-spouse in their wills or living trusts as well. Remind them to review their legal documents and estate planning documents to ensure that these legally binding documents represent their wishes as well. Additionally, remember that a great deal of property may be titled in both you and your ex-spouse’s names, such as real estate, vehicles, etc. Make sure that these documents as well represent your wishes.
Let Us Help You Today
While this is good advice, oftentimes, a family member will fail to update their estate planning documents such as a trust or will, leaving their assets and property to someone that was not their true intention or wish. If you are a family member that believes their loved one’s estate planning documents do not reflect their intentions, contact an experienced estates and trusts litigation attorney as soon as possible to help you understand your legal rights. Contact our experienced Prince Frederick estate & trust litigation attorneys serving southern Maryland at Meng Law at 410-535-5500 or online today.