Given the amount of time, energy and money that is typically expended in a divorce, the last thing many people want to hear is that they need to add something else to their already full plates. Sadly though, those in the midst of a divorce would be well served to spend some time thinking through changes that will need to be made to existing estate plans.
Why does a Massachusetts divorce require estate plan changes?
Estate planning experts say that people need to set aside time to reevaluate estate plans after periods of significant personal change. For example, the birth of children, a new marriage, or a divorce can all greatly impact your priorities and plan for the future.
Change your will
Divorce represents an important reason to go through your existing plan. One good example of why is that if you and your former spouse already drafted a will, you likely list him or her as the person who will inherit everything after you're gone. Given the divorce, you surely would not want to leave your remaining assets to your ex-spouse, and to ensure that this doesn't happen, you need to quickly draft a new will that recognizes this important change in your life.
Beyond altering wills or trusts, it is also critical that you draw up a list of other accounts that pass outside the probate system. For example, certain bank accounts, life insurance polices, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts are distributed based on named beneficiaries. If your spouse is listed as a beneficiary, you need to quickly have them removed and replaced with someone else, a child, a parent, or whomever you want.
Another area of your estate plan that might require some attention involves guardianship over children. When you were married, your children would automatically go to your spouse in the event of your untimely passing. Now that you've gone through a Massachusetts divorce, the same would happen in most cases, but not all. For instance, if your spouse has been deemed unfit, it is essential that you draft a document laying out your wishes. Though the request will not be binding on a judge, it can be carry weight and is important to ensuring your children are well taken care of even when you aren't around.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.