Getting a Divorce? Update Your Estate Plan

Divorce is overwhelming no matter who you are. You’re probably focused on your children or on your home, or on how you’re going to pay off the credit cards now that you’re down to one income. But I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who completely neglect to change their estate plan after a divorce – and it can cause a real mess later. Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a divorce or have been single for years, it’s time to speak with a Tennessee attorney who can help you protect what’s yours.

More than just wills: keeping your future in order

When you divorce, the judge looks at all types of income: pensions, savings accounts, IRAs – you name it. But once your divorce is finalized, your money is your own, minus any child or spousal support you’ve been ordered to pay. There are certain documents you should update immediately with your attorney:

  • Change your beneficiaries on any life insurance policies you have, so that the money goes to your children, family or favorite charity (just to name a few).
  • Change your Power of Attorney to a sibling or family member you trust to protect you, should something unexpected happen to you.
  • Change your will to ensure that your ex and his/her family cannot make a claim on your estate.
  • Change your healthcare directives so that someone you trust has the power to make medical decisions for you, if you become incapacitated in some way.
  • Change the names on your bank accounts, or consider opening new ones. Consider opening new accounts for your minor children in just their name as well, so that any money in that account will only go to them.

You also want to check your credit cards or any open lines of credit that you may have started with your ex-spouse. Make sure only one of you is listed on any debts you owe, to avoid confusion later. By removing your name or closing joint accounts, you can guarantee that the only person contributing to your credit score is you.

I understand that after a divorce, you may not want to think about your end of life care. But I’ve seen a lot of people hurt because their estate plans were never changed to reflect the divorce. Protect yourself and your loved ones, and speak to a Tennessee family law attorney about any concerns you have.