When you created your estate plan, you probably made many decisions with your spouse in mind. The two of you may have even created a joint plan, or you may have created separate plans but worked on them together. Whatever the case, you likely wanted your spouse to receive the majority of your remaining assets and wanted him or her to make important decisions for you in the event that you could not decide for yourself.
However, you and your spouse recently divorced or are going through divorce, and now you no longer want him or her to have a claim to your assets or to be the one making vital medical or financial decisions on your behalf. Fortunately, you can — and should — update your estate plan after a divorce to ensure that it reflects your current wishes.
What should you update?
It is not unusual for state laws to automatically void estate plan details that benefit an ex-spouse. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry and update your plans yourself to ensure that your care and estate are handled as you see fit. Some documents you may want to update soon after your divorce (or maybe even before) include the following:
- Your will
- Your power of attorney appointments
- Any trusts you created with your now ex-spouse as beneficiary or trustee
- Your living will
In most cases, it makes sense for people to name their spouse as a health care proxy or power of attorney agent. After all, for years, this person likely knew you best. Of course, after ending a marriage, most people do not feel that it is appropriate for an ex to hold such important roles, and if the information is not updated, an ex-spouse could still have that power or other family members will have to take potentially stressful measures to obtain the necessary authority.
When should you update?
If you are in the process of getting a divorce, now may be a good time to start going over your estate planning documents. Some information you may want to change before finalizing your divorce, and other documents may need the divorce to come to an end first. Luckily, you can discuss your situation with a Louisiana attorney who can guide you through updating your plan during or after divorce.