Is Your Ex-Spouse Still Your Power of Attorney?

Here are 2 things you should stop doing immediately: thinking that your estate plan doesn’t need to be updated and is only one document. 

With the right attorney, you will build and craft an estate plan made up of multiple documents—each one uniquely protects you. As your life changes, your plan will need to be adapted accordingly so that it continues to be effective. 

A divorce is a significant event in your life. It demands that you alter your estate plan. Maybe you had created one with your spouse. Or perhaps you didn’t. The point remains: you should either reshape your estate plan or create one.

2 Immediate Changes

These 2 needs alone should inspire you to change your estate plan:

  1. Health Care Proxy
  2. Power of Attorney 

Your ex-spouse is likely both of these. If you are in a severe accident, you might not be able to speak on your behalf. Your health care proxy (your ex-spouse) will be the person tasked with making decisions for you.  

This extends to your power of attorney as well. If you are incapacitated, who will manage your assets and pay your bills? Probably your ex-spouse. 

Your marriage ended because there were fundamental differences between the two of you. This is no longer the person you want to spend your life with. They are also not who you would likely turn to in an emergency. 

Children & Assets

Part of the comfort in creating a firm estate plan is knowing that your children are taken care of if you pass away. This goes beyond them being set financially. Who will be their guardian?

If your ex-spouse is a fit parent, then he or she will likely become your kids’ guardian if you pass away. Sometimes marriages end because one parent becomes unfit. This could be because of substance abuse, child abuse, and psychiatric illness (among other things). 

But if your former spouse is unfit, set money aside. A guardian of your choosing can access this money. This money can be used to pay for legal fees if custody has to be determined through the court system.

You will likely leave money behind for your children. Even if your ex-spouse is fit, maybe you don’t feel comfortable with him or her controlling the finances. Choose a trustee. Set up a trust. And this person—the trustee—can handle the money on behalf of your child if he or she is still a minor.

ElDeiry & ElDeiry, P.A.

These changes with your estate can all come about due to a divorce. ElDeiry & ElDeiry can assist you through them. We have provided outstanding legal services for estate planning and probate for more than two decades. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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