When you sign a petition to legally end your marriage, a ripple effect takes place in all areas of your life. As a parent, you must discuss and resolve many issues regarding your children before you and your ex can move on in life without each other. There are many financial issues to address in a divorce as well, and it’s always best to revisit your Washington estate plan to amend it, as needed.
It’s logical to assume that you might need to update your last will and testament following a divorce. If you’re like many Washington spouses, you may have listed your (now former) spouse as a beneficiary to your estate. Now that he or she is your ex, you might want to change the document, especially if you wind up marrying another person.
Additional estate planning documents you might want to amend after divorce
Do you have a life insurance policy? If you listed your ex as a beneficiary, you’ll want to update the document as soon as possible following your divorce. The following list includes several more estate planning documents that may need updating:
- Powers of attorney
- Financial account holder information
- Revocable trust
Especially regarding the first document listed here (powers of attorney), you likely wouldn’t want your former spouse to be managing your finances or making life-or-death decisions on your behalf. Even if you and your ex will still interact following your divorce since you have children together, your relationship will have changed. It’s best if your estate plan reflects that change.
Have you named guardians for your children?
If your ex dies before you do, who will take custody of your minor children if something happens to you. When a set of parents is married, one parent knows the other parent will take care of the children if he or she dies. However, if you finalize a divorce, and your ex passes away first, the state will determine where your children go if you have not designated legal guardians on their behalf.
This is one of many reasons it is so important to review and update your Washington estate plan following a divorce. You deserve to have peace of mind knowing that someone you selected will be raising your children if you die or become incapacitated.
Tell your relatives to review their estate plans, too
Following your divorce, your extended family members will want to update their estate plans if they listed your ex as a beneficiary in their wills or named him or her as an executor or power of attorney. There are no rules prohibiting you or your family members from retaining your ex in a fiduciary role or as a beneficiary to an estate. However, if that is not the intent, then an estate plan should be amended following your divorce.