The divorce is final, and you have settled into your new life. With the exception of possibly needing to make modifications in the future, you no longer have to worry about the legal effects of your divorce, right?
Wrong. The end of your marriage impacts more than just child custody and property division. It also requires that you alter your estate plans to reflect your current state of affairs. Make these changes now to ensure your assets go where you want them to and your children receive protection if you pass away.
First, review what assets you still have after the divorce. You cannot pass something along that is no longer yours or that you had to sell. Along with tangible property, be sure to include retirement benefits, insurance policies, investments and other financial accounts in your review and updates.
Next, reconsider whom you have named as beneficiaries. You may want to remove your ex as one or reduce his or her inheritance amount. Reconsider anyone else whose relationship with you the divorce has affected. Be clear to avoid a contest of your will, which will lengthen the probate process and put your wishes at risk.
Your estate plans should also include appointments to legal roles, such as guardians and powers of attorney. Most likely, you gave your former spouse and/or in-laws some of these roles. You probably no longer want these people to make major life decisions in your or your children's behalf. Finding new appointments may be difficult but worth the peace of mind knowing that they will respect your desires.
Look over your estate plans every few years to ensure they are still relevant to your circumstances. Remember to make updates if you lose or acquire property, remarry or have more children. When it comes to remarriage, take advantage of options that protect your assets and children.