If you are considering a divorce, it’s critical to understand the impact of your divorce on what would happen in the event of your incapacity or death, either during the divorce or after.
Unfortunately, most divorce lawyers don’t give much thought to incapacity or death, primarily because they do not have training on these specific issues and it’s just not at the forefront of their minds when they are advising clients through a divorce.
So, that means you may need to be the one to bring it up.
When you do, here are some things for you to keep in mind:
- As soon as you file for divorce, automated “orders” go into effect that will limit what you can do with your assets during the divorce. These are generally called Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders or “ATROs” and they impact how you can change prior estate planning documents and what you can do with future estate planning decisions while your divorce is in progress.Talking with your divorce lawyer about these issues (or making an appointment to meet with your Family Trust Attorney before you file for divorce) is a wise decision.
- If you’ve already filed for divorce, you may want to revoke any existing powers of attorney and health care directives giving your soon to be ex-spouse control over your assets and medical decision-making if you were to become incapacitated, as well as execute what we call a “divorce will”, which is a “temporary” Will that would cover the disposition of your assets in the event of your death during your divorce.Again, talk to an attorney about the temporary documents which can be executed while you are in the divorce process, so you don’t suffer any lapses in the valuable protections your estate plan provides.
- Be sure to update your “temporary” documents once your divorce is final, and all asset dispositions have been handled, to take into account your new reality.
Going through a divorce can be hard. But there are things you can – and should – do to make things easier for yourself and your loved ones, from an estate planning perspective, before, during, and after the process.
Dedicated to empowering your family, increasing your wealth and building your legacy,