Estate planning involves careful consideration, and there are several life events that may give you a reason to revisit your current plan and update it as needed. A divorce is one such life circumstance, and if your former spouse played a big role in your estate plan, you may want to minimize that role once you part ways.
Failing to update your estate plan when you divorce could mean that your ex retains certain powers over you or your affairs. Unless you take certain steps, your ex may maintain access to your bank accounts, for example, and he or she may also have the right to make potentially life-altering decisions in the event that you become incapacitated.
To avoid having your ex keep these and other powers, consider revisiting the following aspects of your estate plan.
Your medical directives
If you gave your ex medical power of attorney, you may want to give this designation to someone else once your marriage ends. This may prove especially true if your divorce is ugly or acrimonious, as you may not trust your ex to prioritize your health or well-being any longer.
Your guardianship decisions
As long as you and your child’s other parent are both fit to parent, your ex may assume guardianship over your child in the event that something happens to you after a divorce. However, if your ex is dangerous or abusive, you may have to name someone else you trust as your child’s guardian.
If your estate plan lists your ex as your child’s guardian, you may want to create a trust for that minor child when you divorce. Otherwise, your ex maintains control over that child’s financial affairs until he or she comes of age.
Your beneficiary designations
Depending on your situation, you may not be able to completely eliminate your ex as a beneficiary from your trusts or your will. However, you may want to update your beneficiary designations where possible to reduce how much your former partner inherits from you.