After the emotional strain of a divorce, focusing on the next chapter of your life is a great way to infuse some much-needed optimism. You might be planning where to live, be considering a new direction you want your life to take, or maybe you’re just looking forward to settling into a new groove. Many people overlook financial and estate planning as components of their revised life, but including those steps can provide you with a much clearer path for your future. Divorce brings changes to all aspects of your life, including your finances, and thoughtful estate planning can give you and your loved ones peace of mind about their future. Even if you didn’t have any previous financial or estate planning, now is a good time to add these to your to-do list.
- Financial Planning – Divorces can be financially draining and can also bring about changes if you’re used to two incomes or someone else being responsible for paying the bills. Most likely, at a minimum, you will need to make a new budget. Updating your financial planning is a good step towards creating your new life.
- Beneficiary Designations – If you have life insurance, IRAs, a 401(k), or other assets you were awarded in the divorce that have beneficiary designations, and you’ve designated your ex-spouse as that beneficiary, you need to change the designation at your earliest opportunity. This is typically an easy process, requiring only that you fill out new paperwork for each account.
- Powers of Attorney – a power of attorney allows you to designate a person that you trust to have access to your financial, medical, and other personal information, and to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated. If you have given your ex-spouse this power, you should update your power of attorney by designating someone new, such as a sibling or trusted friend.
- Last Will and Testament – your last will and testament will identify individuals or groups that you choose to receive your property after you pass away (assuming the property is not disposed of via a “transfer on death” designation or distributed into a trust). An estate planning attorney can also help you create a trust to protect your children after your death.
- Revocable Trust – A trust may be the best way for you to control your assets both during your life and after your death and can avoid the cost, delay and hassle to your beneficiaries and successors of a probate proceeding
To talk to an attorney about your divorce or post-divorce planning, call one of the family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.