by Curry Andrews
So, the divorce or property settlement is final. Now what do you need to do for estate planning? After all, most of us wouldn’t want to retain our “ex” as our primary heir, attorney-in-fact or trustee, right?
During a divorce or property settlement action, there are typically restraining orders barring you from changing beneficiary statements or cancelling insurance, etc. Once the action is completed, however, you are free to adjust your estate planning to your new circumstances.
Remove and replace your ex from the following:
Your Healthcare Information Release (HIPAA) so that he or she cannot discuss your medical history or condition with your medical care providers;
Your Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA) so that he or she cannot direct your medical care when you are unable to do so;
Your Durable General Power of Attorney (DPOA) to that he or she has no access to financial powers like accessing your bank or retirement accounts;
Your Last Will & Testament as heir and as personal representative or executor so that he or she will not be involved in your estate;
Your Trust as beneficiary or trustee so that he or she cannot take control of your assets under that instrument;
Your Beneficiary Statements on all your banking, retirement, investment and life insurance accounts so that he or she won’t get more of your property than was already provided in the decree; and lastly,
Update your guardianship designation so that your ex doesn’t get to designate his or her family to raise your children.
Waiting to act on these steps can have serious consequences for your children or even yourself. It is important to not leave any legal documents granting your ex power over you, your children or your estate. I recommend you speak with a qualified estate planning attorney as soon as possible after the divorce or property settlement action is completed.
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