Estate Planning During and After a Divorce

Developing a comprehensive estate plan is essential to protect your assets, ensure that your desires are carried out and to lessen unnecessary burdens on your loved ones in the event that tragedy strikes.  During and following a divorce, making changes to your estate plan is a necessary step the importance of which cannot be overstated. 

When contemplating a divorce or once the process has begun, it may be in your best interest to execute a new Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and HIPAA Release.  You need not wait until a divorce is final to complete updated documents, so that the individual with access to your medical information, the person appointed to make healthcare decisions should you become incapacitated and the person with the ability to take financial action on your behalf is not your soon to be ex-spouse.  

At the time that your divorce is final, it is imperative that you execute a new Last Will and Testament.  This would allow you to choose a new personal representative to be responsible to carry out your final wishes and, if necessary, name the person that you would choose to be responsible for caring for your child(ren) and being responsible for their financial decisions.  

While some of these documents cannot be finalized until the divorce is settled, consulting an estate planning attorney prior to or during the divorce proceeding can assist you in advanced planning and provide valuable advice regarding any issues in the divorce that may affect your estate.