Untangling the lives of a married couple takes time and work, especially if there are children involved. Now that you are going through a divorce, you have several issues on your plate that need your attention before it’s over. In the meantime, the law continues to view you as a married couple until the court either enters a final decree and/or approves your settlement agreement.
More than likely, you are concerned about missing something important, so you keep checking your list to make sure that you address everything in order to avoid having to come back later. This is a good strategy for the divorce proceedings, but it’s possible you missed one other important matter you may want to address as soon as possible — estate planning.
Review your estate plan after a major life change
Although creating an estate plan is important, you should periodically review it to ensure it still reflects your wishes, especially if you encounter a major life change. You would probably agree that divorcing your spouse is a major life event, so you need to review your plan sooner rather than later since you never know what could happen.
If you don’t want your future former spouse inheriting from your estate or making decisions for you if you suffer an injury or illness that incapacitates you, then you will want to make some changes as soon as possible.
Even though the law still considers you legally married until the final decree and/or settlement, you can still make changes before the process ends. One of the first things you may want to do is change your powers of attorney to appoint someone other than your ex-spouse to handle financial and medical decisions for you if you should be unable to do so on your own. You may also want to review and change any beneficiary designations such as on a life insurance policy or your retirement account.
Make the necessary changes to your estate plan
Once you sort out what documents in your estate plan require changes, you will more than likely want to work with an Oregon estate-planning attorney. Not only is it possible that you will need completely new documents, but you will also want to make sure that your documents accurately reflect the fact that the existing documents are no longer valid as they refer to your ex-spouse.
The last thing you want is for surviving family members to end up battling in court with your former spouse because you did not properly cancel or revoke the previous estate planning documents. An experienced estate-planning attorney can help ensure that does not happen.