Estate planning may be the last thing you want to think about during or after a divorce, but it may be one of the most important items to consider as you pick up the pieces of your life and move forward. In fact, not only do you need to update your estate plan, you may even need to start from scratch to ensure that it reflects your current relationship status, even if you plan to leave any of your assets or belongings to your divorced spouse. With that in mind, today we'll discuss 5 items within your Raleigh estate plan to update after a divorce.
Your Updated Raleigh Estate Plan Should Include a Revised Will
It's highly likely that when you created your will, you were happily married and intended to leave most of your estate to your spouse. Now that you are divorced, it's important that you remove your ex-spouse from your will and reassign an executor of your will. While this can certainly still include your ex-spouse if you left the marriage on good terms, it's a personal decision that should be given proper consideration.
Your Updated Raleigh Estate Plan Should Reflect Current Guardianship Wishes
If you and your ex-spouse have children together, you may also want to revise the names of your minor children's guardians should either of you pass away unexpectedly. According to North Carolina state law, guardianship is often left to the other parent should the one with primary custody die.
However, if your ex-spouse did not share custody, pay child support, or display abusive behaviors (including substance abuse) that may deem them an unfit guardian, those details should be documented in your revised Raleigh estate plan.
Your Updated Raleigh Estate Plan Should Identify Your Healthcare Proxy
We've all watched movies or tv shows in which an individual is injured and their ex-spouse is called to the hospital to make decisions on the injured party's behalf. Then, just before anything is done, the injured person miraculously wakes up wondering why their ex is there, only to be informed that they never updated their medical records.
If you've recently gotten a divorce, your ex-spouse is probably the last person you want to see at the hospital, and certainly not the person you'd want making medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. As such, if you once named your ex as your healthcare proxy, now is the time to update this information to reflect someone you trust that can make medical decisions for you in case of an emergency.
Your Updated Raleigh Estate Plan Should Reassign Power of Attorney
So far, when it comes to updating your Raleigh Estate Plan, we've discussed matters of the heart, but even more importantly, you should update your estate plan because it includes a lot of financial information that you may not want your ex-spouse to have access to any longer.
As such, as you're updating your estate plan, make sure that you reassign power of attorney to another trusted friend or family member to help oversee your financial assets and responsibilities when you are unable.
Your Updated Raleigh Estate Plan Should Remove Your Ex-Spouse as a Beneficiary to a Revocable Trust
When you first created your estate plan, you likely also created a revocable trust and designated your spouse as the beneficiary. The terms of that trust no longer apply, so you'll want to remove your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. If you have children, you can designate them as beneficiaries instead.
Going through a divorce is stressful enough without worrying over how the fallout will affect you and your family in the long run. However, by updating your Raleigh estate plan, you can rest assured that it'll be okay. If you need help getting started, our estate planning attornies in Raleigh, NC are here to help Feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.