If you’re divorced (recently or not so recently), you may have overlooked updating your estate plan. While it’s understandable you might be tired of being in an attorney’s office, ignoring this problem would be big a mistake. Ohio law will ignore distributions to your former spouse as well as appointments of your former spouse as executor or trustee. But relying on a law to amend your estate plan is a bad idea. With divorce comes change. When things change, your planning needs to change as well. Below is a checklist of tasks and issues to consider as you navigate the post-divorce world.
- Consider WHO you want to help you.
- Many couples name each other as their financial and health care agents. If you’re divorced, you likely want someone other than your ex-spouse making those decisions. Be sure your powers of attorney are reviewed so the people you want to make your decisions are the people nominated.
- Consider WHERE you want your assets to go.
- While your former spouse will be excluded from inheriting from your estate, this may not be your wish. If you would still like your former spouse to inherit something from you, you will need a new will. Moreover, as family dynamics have changed, your distribution plan may also change. Make sure to have your will reviewed to ensure that your distribution plan matches your current wishes.
- If you have minor children, name a guardian for those children.
- While you may not be able to preclude your former spouse from raising your children, you can appoint a guardian in the event you have both passed away.
- Review your beneficiary designations and payable on death designations on your life insurance retirement accounts, brokerage accounts and bank accounts.
- DON’T ASSUME THAT THESE WILL AUTOMATICALLY CHANGE. Make sure your assets are directed to those you want to inherit them when you pass away.
Just as you should review your plan when a marriage ends, you should also review the plan if you are newly considering marriage once again. Blended families often create a need for new distribution plans. Don’t assume your step-children will be treated as naturally born or adopted children. Don’t assume your new spouse will inherit everything when you pass away. In short, don’t assume that your assets will pass the way you want. If your family dynamics have recently changed, make an appointment today with an AlerStallings attorney to review and update your plan today.