Divorce is unpleasant. It’s an extremely difficult time emotionally.
I work with divorcing spouses all the time who share their sadness, confusion,
anxiety and unhappiness with me. It’s a big struggle.
When divorcing there is a lot to do, and there are many important decisions
to make. A major, sometimes overlooked part of this process is estate planning.
I tell many of my divorcing spouses, “Don’t forget to update
your will or to get your estate in order! You don’t want your spouse
inheriting your assets or making important healthcare decisions!”
So let me help you get your estate in order! Consider the following:
Do you have one?If you don’t, you need one.You should designate who
will make important medical decisions for you if you are unable to do
so.If you are divorcing and already have a healthcare proxy, you may need
to update it.After all, you probably don’t want your angry spouse
making medical decisions for you! Do you?
POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person (the agent
or attorney-in-fact) the power to act for another person (the principal).
The agent can have broad legal authority or limited authority to make
legal decisions about the principal's property, finances or other
matters. If you don’t have a POA, you should consider having one
drafted. If you are divorcing you and your spouse may have executed powers
of attorney. If it is a durable power of attorney, it gives your spouse
access to all of your accounts and assets now, whether you are competent
or not. If you are divorcing, and it’s not amicable, this should
concern you. I often suggest clients revoke that power of attorney and
prepare a new one to designate someone else.
Do you have a will?If not, you should have one drafted. A will sometimes
called a “last will and testament,” is a document that states
your final wishes. A will can be used to leave instructions about what
should happen to your property after you die, and who should carry out
your instructions (your executor).
You should gather information before you start drafting your will like:
Contact information for anyone involved such as family members, beneficiaries,
executors, etc. Statements from your bank, investment ad retirement accounts,
pensions, life insurance policies, real estate holdings, any businesses
you have interest in, any inheritance you may be expecting or charities
you’re planning to leave a bequest to.
If you are divorcing, you should update or execute a new will. You probably
don’t want your current spouse in charge of your estate. I guide
clients all the time about the importance of having a will and the need
to update or make a new one if a divorce takes place. Don’t forget.
Here is an interesting fact: The beneficiaries you’ve named on each
of your accounts will get your money—not people you name in your
will. So if your ex-spouse is still the beneficiary listed on your pension,
they will get the funds even if your will stipulates that your current
spouse should inherit your pension.
If you have questions or need help making a new will or updating your will, call me.
Now is the time to draft a will if you don’t have one. If you are
thinking about divorce and need help with your healthcare proxy, power
of attorney, or will, call me.
FREE 1 Hour Consultations arestill conveniently available virtually !
I look forward to working with you on getting your estate in order!
Call New York Divorce Attorney Lois Brenner now to get answers to all your
questions about wills and estates!
Call to schedule your free consultation today!