A divorce can be a complicated and stressful time for anyone involved. It’s important to have a well-thought-out estate plan in place to protect your assets.
After a divorce, the status quo may change significantly. The importance of making changes to your estate plan before your divorce is finalised ensures you have a clear understanding of how things stand. You may need to adjust your assets and liabilities if you are looking for a new living arrangement, for example.
There are also several other things that you should consider. For example, it may be wise to update your will and trust if you have children or other dependents. Also, you may want to consider revising your health care directives and power of attorney documents if your situation changes. Other than that, there are no real risks in updating your estate plan after a divorce.
What to Do After Getting a Divorce Decree
After you’ve gone through the divorce process and have a divorce decree in hand, you might be wondering what’s next. To protect your interests moving forward, here are a few things to do to finalise the divorce and move on with your life.
- Next, you will have up to 12 months from the date of the divorce order to reach a propery settlement to divide up your assets and debts. This includes property, savings, retirement accounts and any other assets or debts you may have. Outside of the 12 month period you will need to seek leave from the court.
- Finally, you may choose to change your name. You can do this by changing your name with the Marriage, Births and Deaths Registry before making any changes to your new driver license for example.
The Impact of Divorce on Your Will
Unfortunately, divorce can have some negative consequences on your will.
If you have any joint property with your ex-spouse, such as a house or a car, you will need to remove their name from the titles of these assets. You will also need to change your will to reflect your new marital status. This means that any assets that you previously left to your ex-spouse will now need to be redistributed.
Any debts that you and your ex-spouse shared will now need to be paid off by the person who is responsible for them. Also, you need to ensure that your ex-spouse is removed from any beneficiary designation forms, such as your life insurance policy. All of these changes can be made seamlessly by working with an experienced family law lawyer.
The Effect of Divorce on Your Trust
One asset that may be affected by divorce is your trust fund.
What will happen to your trust fund?
Will it be divided between you and your spouse?
Can your ex-spouse take money out of the trust fund?
What if you need to access the trust fund for yourself?
In general, if you have a trust fund that was set up before your marriage, the terms of the trust will likely protect your interest in the trust after a divorce. However, if the trust was created during your marriage, the court may divide the trust assets between you and your spouse when a property settlement is being decided.
With the help of a skilled family lawyer, you can protect your trust fund and ensure that it is used in the way that you intended.
Your Power of Attorney (POA) After Divorce
The impact of divorce on your POA can be significant. If you have been granted a POA by your spouse, and the two of you subsequently divorce, the POA will no longer be valid.
Additionally, if you have been named as an attorney under your spouse’s POA, you may no longer have the authority to act on their behalf. It is important to consult with a lawyer to determine the status of your POA after a divorce.
How Divorce Affects Your Beneficiary Designations
When you get divorced, it’s important to remember to update your beneficiary designations. If you don’t, your ex-spouse could still end up receiving your life insurance payout or retirement benefits.
To avoid this, simply update your beneficiary designations to reflect your new status. You can do this by contacting the insurer or plan administrator and requesting a change of beneficiary form.
If you have any questions about how divorce may impact your beneficiary designations, be sure to speak with a divorce lawyer or financial advisor.
Updating Your Estate Plan After a Divorce
Aside from beneficiary assignment, you also need to update your estate plan. This includes updating your will, trusts and any other documents that name your former spouse as a beneficiary. You’ll also need to see that your executor and trustees are aware of the change in your circumstances.
If you have children of minor ages, you’ll need to designate a new guardian in your will. And if you have any assets that are held jointly with your former spouse, you’ll need to ensure that those are transferred into your sole name.
It’s important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer so that your documents are properly updated and that your wishes are carried out.
How Madison Marcus Can Help You
Madison Marcus is your go-to source for family law expertise. We’re here to help you through every step of the process, from filing paperwork to negotiating agreements. Our team is well-versed with family law in Australia and with skilled lawyers, we will guarantee that you get the best possible outcome for your situation.
You deserve expert legal advice and support, and that’s exactly what we provide at Madison Marcus. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your case. And we are always available to answer any questions you may have.For all enquiries or initial consultation, contact us here.