When you got married you hoped for the best, but unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way you expected. Whether your divorce in Connecticut is final or you’re just beginning the process, it’s a good idea to take a hard look at your estate planning documents. Make sure they reflect your current wishes.
For example, in better times, you may have named your spouse as your power of attorney, health care agent and the sole beneficiary of your assets. But do you still want your ex- or soon-to-be ex-spouse to have access to your financial accounts, make health care decisions on your behalf or inherit all your assets? It’s highly unlikely.
You may not have a Will. But did you know that when there’s no Will, the State of Connecticut decides who inherits your assets? If you die while your divorce is still pending, your spouse could inherit all of your assets.
Whether your divorce is amicable or acrimonious, here are some important estate planning steps to take, with the help of a Connecticut estate planning attorney:
If you don’t already have a Will, this is your #1 priority! Creating a Will puts you in charge of what happens to your assets when you die.
- If you have a Will, take it to an estate planning attorney to have it updated. Your ex-spouse is automatically removed from your Will when you divorce, but you shouldn’t rely on this. You should rewrite it to reflect your changed family and any new arrangements you want to put into effect.
- Decide who you want to be your power of attorney, assuming it will no longer be your spouse. Remember, this person has the same control over your finances as you do, so be sure it’s someone you completely trust.
- Update your health care agent designation. If you become incapacitated, you want to make sure that the right person is making decisions on your behalf.
- Update your beneficiary or beneficiaries. Decide with fresh eyes how you would like your assets to be distributed when you die.
The court has wide discretion over how assets are divided in divorce matters, taking into consideration all the variables. But you don’t have to wait until your divorce decree is signed to get your Will and other estate planning documents in order.
Making plans for your post-divorce life isn’t easy, but taking charge will give you peace of mind during this major transition. Finish your divorce once and for all.