How do I Manage my Estate Plan in a Divorce?
Tips on how to Manage your Estate Plan in Monmouth and Ocean County Divorce
Estate Plan Attorney educating on your financial well being in Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Ocean Township, Red Bank, and across the Jersey Shore
Divorce has implications for every aspect of a person’s life, from their emotional, mental, and physical health to their financial wellbeing. During and after a divorce, most people reassess elements of their lives and plans for the future and refine them to align with their new trajectory. One financial rearrangement that may need attention is the estate plan. An estate plan doesn’t only strategically prepare you for your future – it affects your children and determines many important elements of their wellbeing in the case of your death or that of your ex. Understanding how the divorce could and does affect the myriad aspects of your estate is essential in the early post-divorce process. So what are immediate steps to take involving updating your estate plan after finalizing a divorce? Read on to learn more.
Update your healthcare proxy
The healthcare proxy is the person who can legally make decisions for you if you are injured and cannot make decisions for yourself, and you likely don’t want your ex maintaining that legal power. Change your healthcare proxy to a trusted friend or family member.
Change your power of attorney
As is the case with the healthcare proxy, it is important to withdraw your ex’s legal role as attorney’s power if they are so named. In their place, name a trusted friend or family member.
Share your divorce agreement with your estate planner
Your estate planner has your family’s best interests and financial wellbeing in mind. As such, sharing your divorce agreement with them is an essential early step in the post-divorce process. Before the estate planner can help you update your estate plan, they need to know what your legal obligations are to your ex in the case of your death. What you can change will depend on what you must legally provide in the case of your death.
An estate planner can also check for holes in the divorce agreement that will adversely impact your financial wellbeing and that of your family, such as the impact of the divorce on retirement account beneficiaries and whether you are protected from having to pay state and federal estate taxes. The estate planner will review whether your ex can change beneficiaries and how your death would impact your children’s financial wellbeing as estate plans currently stand.
Change your will
There is a likelihood that you will no longer wish for your ex to be named in your will. If this is the case, it’s time to update it. The main revision will be removing your spouse from the role of executor of the will. Unless specifically desired, you do not want your ex to have power over your estate or trust.
Update your beneficiaries
There are numerous savings accounts and policies for which you have named a beneficiary. Retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and IRAs are just some of the accounts you will need to update if you don’t want your ex to maintain a claim if you die. Some states automatically wipe an ex-spouse from being a beneficiary, but this is not always the case. If you named your spouse while you were married, forget to update, and then die, the process of the desired or secondary beneficiary receiving the funds could involve litigation.
Consider a trust
A shared life insurance policy will need to be addressed during the divorce proceeding. The person who owns the policy must pay premiums – yet they also can change beneficiaries. To ensure that your children are cared for in the case of your ex’s death, it may be wise to name a trust as the owner of the insurance policies to ensure that a steady continuance of payment of the policy continues for the benefit of your family.
A trust can also be established to ensure a steady flow of alimony and child support. The trust creator, called the grantor, makes payments into the trust based on its outlined provisions. If the grantor dies, the beneficiaries can receive funds without probate. There are also tax advantages to setting up a trust instead of other forms of handling alimony and child support.
Consult an experienced Estate Planning and Divorce Attorney in Brick or Sea Girt, NJ, to protect your interests
At Bronzino Law Firm, our team is skilled in handling all matters of divorce and estate revisioning for our clients across Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Ocean Township, and across the Jersey Shore.
Our unique approach ensures that your financial legacy is secure.
To meet with an experienced team member to go over your estate planning needs, please call 732-812-3102 to schedule a consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Brick and Sea Girt or fill out the online form, and we´ll get back to you shortly.