Estate planning can be a difficult process under the best of circumstances, to say nothing of how long and involved things become if you’re also adding the stress of going through a divorce on top of it all. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, estate planning is likely not something that you want to think about. However, it’s important to understand that it is the most important thing that you SHOULD be thinking about for a wide range of different reasons. Working with a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer can help make sure that yourself and your assets are protected as the divorce proceedings move forward.
Changes Begin Immediately
Any estate planning attorney will tell you that the first thing you need to do after a divorce involves revoking your will and drafting a new one from the ground up. Prior to your divorce, your soon-to-be ex-spouse was probably a major factor in your will. Now that the relationship has ended, this will obviously no longer be the case. Working with an estate planning lawyer to revoke your old will and draft a new one will allow you to more accurately specify who is in charge of your estate, who certain pieces of property will be left to after your passing and more.
Update All of Your Beneficiaries
It stands to reason that your spouse was probably a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a retirement account or some other form of investment that you made prior to the dissolution of your marriage. As a result, another important step to take as soon as possible involves working with an elder attorney to update who your beneficiaries are now that your marital status has changed. A Massachusetts estate planning attorney can help you go through and name new beneficiaries for all of the aforementioned accounts as well as for brokerage accounts, pay-on-death bank accounts that you may have set up with certain financial institutions at some point and more.
Name Your Trustee
Finally, make sure that your ex-spouse is not listed as the trustee on your estate and pick a new person to fulfill this important duty. A trustee does not have to be your financial advisor or even your elder attorney, but most be someone that you explicitly trust to handle your affairs and work with professionals when they are needed.