Tips For Updating A Florida Estate Plan After A Marriage Or Divorce
Janice and Ryan recently married, but with children from previous marriages. While they no longer share property or income with their previous spouses, neither Janice nor Ryan ever got around to changing beneficiary designation for life insurance policies. They also have not updated their will. What are some good estate planning practices to keep in mind after divorce or after a new marriage?
Estate Planning after Divorce
Now that your divorce is finalized, you should revisit all of your life’s event documents, including your will. Chances are you left your ex-spouse as your financial power of attorney, and this needs to be changed. You might also have designated your ex as your healthcare proxy. Unless you want your ex-spouse to have decision-making authority over your health in the event of an emergency, you will want to make changes to your proxy and advance directive as soon as possible. Once the divorce is final, call your life insurance adjuster and change the beneficiary on your policy. It should not be a minor child, but this would be a good time to decide who would serve as your child’s guardian. Lastly, update your will to reflect how you would want your assets distributed now that the divorce is final. Any amendments made to the estate plan cannot violate the final divorce decree.
Estate Planning for Blended Families
Estate planning for blended families is a little more complicated. If you were to pass and you left everything to your new spouse in your will, how can you be sure your biological children would be cared for? Would you want your spouse and your children’s stepfather or stepmother to act as their legal guardian in your absence? If this is the case, put it in writing in your will. If it is not, have a serious discussion with your spouse and approach your children’s potential guardian to talk about the responsibilities of serving. You may also want to consider creating a revocable trust that makes your children beneficiaries of your estate when you pass, versus a simple will that reverts your assets to your spouse upon your death. If you want your biological children to receive a nest egg when they graduate college, put this in writing in a trust, and choose a trustee who is reliable and understands the responsibilities asked of them.
Contact Tampa Family Estate Planning Attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C.
Starting out fresh after a divorce can be intimidating, and there is so much paperwork to deal with during a divorce proceeding that updating your will might be the last thing on your mind. But it is crucial to consider your estate plan (or write one) fresh after a divorce or separation. Similarly, if you have recently married for the first, second or fifth time, especially if you have children from a previous marriage, it is just as important to update your estate plan to reflect these life changes. If you need help getting started or have questions about your options, contact our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C.