Divorce can throw your entire life into a tailspin, potentially affecting everything from your home address to the amount of time you get to spend with your children. Your financial situation and your estate planning needs are also likely to change when you separate from your spouse, but there are certain steps you can take along the way to get your financial and related affairs in order ahead of the day your divorce becomes final.
Why act now? Until your divorce finalizes, your spouse still has certain legal rights over your affairs, and in the unlikely, but possible, event that you pass away or become incapacitated while your divorce is ongoing, he or she may have more control over your personal matters than you may like. So, to regain as much control over your affairs as you can during your divorce, consider taking the following steps.
Update your will
Most of the time, married people name one another as beneficiaries in their wills, and in many cases, people also appoint their spouses as executors over their estates. Chances are, you may want to change your beneficiary designations and appoint a new executor once you leave your spouse, and now is the time to do so.
Modify your health care plans
While many people name their spouses as beneficiaries in their wills, many people also allow their spouses to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event that they are unable to do so. Unless you want your soon-to-be-ex-spouse having control over your health care decisions, consider updating your health care proxy to allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf, should the need present itself.
These are two important steps you may want to take to help you maintain more control during your divorce. There are many other efforts you may also want to consider, however, including changing your power of attorney and, if applicable and allowable, updating your trust.