Divorce can often come as a surprise, but there are ways to minimize the surprise consequences after your divorce is finalized. While the marriage may be legally ended, your ex-spouse may still stand to inherit some of your assets when you pass away. When the divorce decree has been accepted and settled, there are several steps that should be taken immediately to protect your estate and your interests.
It is important to have thorough documentation of all of your assets, including wills, trusts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, pay-on-death bank or brokerage accounts, and any powers of attorney that you may have, such as property, healthcare, or HIPAA. Take note of who the beneficiary is on your assets and update them as needed. Updating your estate planning documents is not sufficient to prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting your assets if they are still listed as the beneficiary, so you must be sure to update the policies and accounts themselves.
Updating Your Will is the First Step to Protecting Your Assets
If you do not have a legally binding will in place, then your ex-spouse will not automatically inherit for chula vista bankruptcy attorney any other property you may have as they are no longer your legal heir. If you have a will that names your ex-spouse as the beneficiary, however, it is essential to revoke it and replace it with an updated will. Not only will this allow you to establish a new beneficiary for your property, but also to name a new executor. This is also an opportunity to designate a guardian for your children if they are under the age of 18, if guardianship does not automatically pass to your ex-spouse.
Issues related to family law chula vista are less straightforward when a parent passes away. Most parents will name their child as the beneficiary of their assets, but child support can still be collected after the death of a parent even if this is not the case. The living parent can file a claim to continue collecting child support from a deceased’s parent’s Social Security, property, or bank accounts.
Keep in mind as you are updating your documents that any changes made to your estate plan must be in line with the terms of your divorce decree. If you have specified in the terms of your divorce that your ex-spouse will remain the beneficiary of any of your assets, this cannot be changed. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you ensure that the divorce agreement protects your interests and that you remain in compliance with that agreement when updating your accounts after a divorce.