Things Have Changed
From the day you separate from your spouse, you have to re-evaluate your estate plan. This becomes even more crucial when either of you files a petition for divorce. Things have changed, and you have to make sure the documents directing your affairs in the case of incapacity or death change too.
If you have not planned, and you don’t have an Advanced Directive in place, then your spouse will have control of your medical decisions if you become incapacitated. Even if you planned, you probably made your spouse your medical proxy in the event of your incapacity. Now, fast forward, and you are in the middle of a divorce. Do you still want that person to be in control of what medical treatment you receive or don’t? Do you want them making the decision whether to continue life support. If you are like most people, the answer is a resounding, “Heck No”.
The same questions we just asked above, stand true for your financial wealth as well. Do you want the person you are divorcing to control your financial wealth while you are incapacitated? Most people would again say, “No Way”, but the reality is that the vast majority of people are not prepared for such an event and only the best divorce attorneys think to make sure these documents are modified at the time of filing or response to a divorce.
What Should You Do?
At the time of filing, have your attorney create or modify your Advanced Directive, your Will, and possibly your Trusts. Make sure that your spouse will not be in a position of taking advantage of you in case of an accident or illness. Regarding beneficiaries, you have to be very careful. You can take your spouse off some things, but not others. This is why you need an experienced and knowledgable divorce attorney to help you navigate these complex waters.