Getting a divorce may be one of the biggest life changes you undertake. It can feel overwhelming, confusing, and emotionally taxing. Those are big reasons why making estate plan updates post-divorce get overlooked, putting your intentions for asset transfer at risk if something happens to you.
Depending on where you live, your soon to be ex-spouse may be entitled to assets under your estate. This is because if your divorce is not yet finalized or if you are only separated from your spouse, state laws may enable this person to receive assets from your estate if something happens to you.
Although you may not wish for this person to receive benefits from your estate, failing to take proactive planning steps such as updating your plans could put your loved ones in a difficult position. If a divorce is not yet finalized, your spouse may still be eligible to collect. The same goes for making updates to beneficiary designations in your retirement accounts and your life insurance policies.
These are easily forgotten in the hectic chaos of trying to close out your divorce, but it is extremely important to think about how you protect your current loved ones, such as your adult children or any new spouses by removing your previous spouse from your estate plan if you wish to do so.
Keeping your estate plan up to date doesn’t have to be difficult, but does require checking in after any major life changes and at least once a year. It’s a place where the details really matter.
Communicate with a New Hampshire attorney who can help walk you through a checklist of the various aspects to reconsider and documents to update after going through a separation or divorce. This will also help you understand any applicable state laws.