In the event of a divorce, it’s essential that you update your estate plan. When 2018 ended in a rush of divorces before the tax law changes that took place on 1st January, there are many divorced people who haven’t yet had the time to change their estate plan – or realized the importance of doing so. Here are some insights from your estate planning attorney in New Jersey.
- Inform your estate planning attorney: Send a copy of your divorce agreement to your estate planning attorney for them to view. They need to know what obligations you have towards your former spouse as well as changes regarding any children and dependents.
- Your Power of Attorney: If these documents name your former spouse as the person who will make financial decisions on your behalf if needed, then this clearly needs to be changed. A new Power of Attorney is best, naming a trusted advisor, relative or friend to take over this critical role.
- Your Healthcare Proxy: Similarly, you may have to name a new healthcare proxy to make medical or healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. This is not a document that is only required for seniors – a car accident, workplace accident or health emergency can happen to anyone at any time of their lives, so it’s very important that someone other than your ex-spouse is trusted to make these decisions.
- Revise your Last Will and Testament: A new Last Will and Testament will need to be drawn up to remove provisions for your ex-spouse or to remove them as an executor of the will or any trustee positions. This will ensure that they are unable to access any of your assets or trust in the event of your death.
- Think of creating a trust for your minor children: If you pass away, the assets and money you leave to your children will be left under the control of their guardian until they reach the age of 18. While many people are comfortable naming their ex-spouse as legal guardian for their minor children, they are less comfortable with letting their children’s inheritance also fall under their ex-spouse’s control. A trust is a practical way of alleviating this issue, allowing you to appoint someone of your choosing to act as trustee and guardian for their inheritance. It also allows you to set out provisions for how this inheritance can be spent, for example, if you want it to fund your children’s education or if you want it to be portioned out over several years.
Get Peace of Mind from Your Estate Planning Attorney in NJ
Frank R. Campisano is an experienced estate planning attorney with a long history of service and loyalty to his New Jersey clients. In addition to assisting you with creating, storing or updating your Last Will and Testament, he can assist you with 529 plans, college savings strategies, developing trusts, healthcare proxies, Power of Attorney documentation and much more.
For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at https://www.scclegal.com/