How to alter your will after a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2018 | Divorce, Estate Planning |

Divorce is a tumultuous time. In addition to having to determine child custody and property division, you also need to change your living trust and will. As soon as the divorce is final, you want to get to work making sure these documents contain essential updates.

Both you and your spouse should have created wills after marrying. Chances are good you both left most of your property and assets to your spouse in these documents. However, now that the marriage is over, you probably do not want your ex receiving everything in the event of your death. Here are actions you need to take.

Revoke the old will

The best course of action to take is to completely revoke the old will. A common reason for will contests is multiple wills existing for one person, creating confusion.

Create new powers of attorney

There are two types of power of attorney people need to have. You should give someone power of attorney over financial decisions and someone the same responsibility over health matters. Most married couples give each other power of attorney, but after a divorce, you want to give the designation to someone else.

Update beneficiaries

Some of your most valuable assets include 401(k)s, IRAs and life insurance policies. You will need to request new documentation from your employer and bank to update the beneficiaries for these assets. According to a federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, those funds will automatically go to who you initially listed as the beneficiary, even if you divorce, unless you change the paperwork.

Name a guardian for your children

The only time the state will appoint a guardian is if both parents are unavailable. However, this is still a good time to state who you would like to watch over your children if that should happen.