Don't Forget to Update Your Will and Estate Plan After Divorce

The following article, offering excellent advice, is written by Bellevue, Washington collaborative and cooperative divorce attorney Karin Quirk:

I send my clients a letter with their final divorce papers. I always advise them to update their wills and estate plans. Most of them don’t do it. I think I will start being more proactive because it is important. Here are a few things you might want to consider:

Who has power of attorney for health care?

Is it your former spouse? Do you want that?

Do you want to leave your estate to your former spouse?

The divorce invalidates that portion of your will. If you want your former spouse to be the recipient, you need to restate that after the divorce.

The divorce and a new will won’t change beneficiaries on your insurance and retirement accounts
You must fill out new beneficiary forms. Don’t think just making a will takes care of it.

Did you set up a trust account for your children? If you did, did you make the trust the beneficiary on your insurance?
Often clients don’t want children to inherit large sums of money all at once when they are 18 and set up a trust to handle the money until they are older. The largest sum often is the insurance proceeds and if the children are the beneficiaries they will receive the lump sum when they are 18. You should name the children’s trust as the beneficiary. 

What documents should you have along with a will?

You should have:

A Will (Last Will and Testament) 
Power of Attorney for Health Care

Health Care Directive 
Durable Power of Attorney

SOURCE: Karin E. Quirk