After you have legally separated or divorced from your spouse, there are many things in your life
that need to be addressed and possibly changed. Now is the time to create or update your estate plan. Regardless of the value of your assets, it is important to review your estate plan with an attorney to protect yourself and your family.
An estate plan will protect your assets after you pass away, ensure that someone you trust is in place to make your medical and financial decisions if you are ever incapacitated, designate a caregiver for your minor children if you become unable to care for them, and so many other major facets of your life and what comes after that. Your estate plan should include an updated final Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney, an Advanced Directive, and trusts if necessary.
What happens if you become injured or ill and cannot handle your own finances or medical decisions? If you are still married or recently divorced, odds are that your estate plan currently includes your spouse as your agent and beneficiary. To protect yourself and your family, you will want to create a Power of Attorney for Personal Finances and an Advance Directive for Medical Care that names someone OTHER than your spouse to act as your agent. These should be completed before or once your divorce is final, so that you can be assured that the people you trust the most are taking care of you and your family.
What happens if you pass away? If you are still married, your spouse can inherit from you, whether or not you have a Will. However, the spousal election made after a spouse is disinherited under a Will is generally less than the amount the spouse would receive if there was no Will. Once the divorce is final, your Will needs to be updated to ensure that you remove your former spouse from the document.
Those interested in updating their estate plan after a divorce can contact the Maryland Will and Estate department of Ruben Law Firm at 410-766-4044 for a free consultation to help handle all aspects of your separation and divorce, including your estate planning needs, and current family law clients of the firm are highly encouraged to ask their lawyer about how to protect their assets and themselves.