Divorce isn’t an easy time for anybody. Through this complicated time, it can be challenging to ensure you’ve covered all your bases when dividing your assets and reallocating beneficiaries. That’s why Shimala Group has created a list of essential probate and estate issues to consider when getting divorced. Read on to discover how to help yourself through the process.
Your personal representative
When creating a will and testament (a document that stipulates what’s to be done with your assets and properties), your spouse is often assigned the role of personal representative or executor. When going through a divorce, make sure to change the first person listed as your personal representative if that person is your ex-spouse. Also, consider changing the other names listed to reflect the people you trust the most. For example, before your divorce, you might have listed people on your spouse’s side of the family. Ultimately, it is up to you to keep or remove who you trust to execute your wishes.
Think about who holds medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney for you. Once again, before the divorce, this person was likely your spouse. A medical power of attorney makes decisions about your medical state in emergencies, while a financial power of attorney makes monetary decisions for you in an emergency. Go over any documentation that names your ex-spouse in these roles, and change them to people you trust. If you don’t have a medical or financial power of attorney, use this time to select people for these roles.
Who your beneficiary is
You’ll also want to consider who is named as the beneficiary for your life insurance. Likely, your spouse is the person you listed as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Who remains the beneficiary depends on the circumstances of the divorce. For example, if you’ve already separated your assets, you may want to change your beneficiary. But if you’re paying alimony to a spouse and want to ensure your children are taken care of, you may wish to change your life insurance policy to accommodate their needs.
Also, rethink the beneficiary of your retirement accounts. Once again, pre-divorce, the beneficiary was likely your spouse. The process of changing the secondary beneficiary for a retirement account differs depending on the type of account. For accounts like ERISAs, you’ll need to get your spouse's consent. Other accounts don’t require any consent at all. Figuring out where your retirement funds will go after a divorce as soon as possible helps you avoid unwanted actions.
When to change your estate plan
There are three stages of divorce to consider when making changes to your estate plan. Pre-divorce, or the time before your file divorce petitions, is when you want to plan out where to move your assets. Once you’ve filed for divorce, you can’t move your assets to different accounts. The courts restrict this to ensure people don’t hide money or cancel insurance during the process.
Take the time to understand your estate plan for things like your Dallas, Texas real estate to ensure you don’t begin a process you’ll regret later. Once you and your spouse are legally divorced, you can make further changes to the estate plan as you and your ex-spouse see fit. At this point, you may want to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure agreements are conducted with your best interest in mind.
How to change your estate plan
Shimala Group knows it’s difficult to predict everything about the steps of divorce and foresee how the process impacts your real estate. That is why we’ve compiled this list of issues to consider during the process. After figuring out your personal representative and changing your beneficiaries, you’ll want to consider what happens to your assets like your Dallas, Texas real estate after you pass away.
If you have children who are minors that you want to inherit your money, reevaluate who’s in charge of distributing those assets if you pass away while they’re still minors. Usually, the person in charge is a spouse, who you may not want to control your money. Consider choosing somebody else to take on that role, whether another family member or a trusted individual.
Although it isn’t likely you’ll pass away during a divorce, it’s still important to plan for the possibility. You’ll need to make clear plans for your estate even before you get divorced; otherwise, your estate will be distributed according to the agreements you made in your marriage. If you don’t want your spouse to inherit your estate, then make sure to change your estate plans. Otherwise, existing plans will go through as if you were still together.
Partnering with an attorney
Figuring out the paperwork of divorce can be difficult, which is why Shimala Group suggests you partner with somebody who knows what they’re doing. Experts like estate planning attorneys can help you plan your estate to protect you from any unexpected circumstances. They’ll know what questions to ask you and how to navigate problems if they occur. They’ll also help you revise your plan after the divorce.
A probate attorney will be up-to-date with the laws surrounding wills and specific scenarios. They will understand any problems that arise. Going through the process without the help of an attorney can lead to mistakes that compromise finalizing papers in court. Ultimately, they’ll save you time and energy by helping you get the process right.
You’re prepared to navigate your probate and estate
Once you’ve considered these critical probate and estate issues that often arise during a divorce, you’ll be ready to complete the process. For help in the real estate aspects of your divorce or to talk real estate generally, contact one of the trusted local agents at Shimala Group. Whatever process you’re going through, we can help.
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