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Estate Planning During a Divorce in New York | FAQ

If you are getting divorced, there is likely a lot on your mind. But, it is important to put estate planning at the top of your to-do list. It is likely that your spouse is deeply intertwined in your estate plans. As a result, there are a lot of important changes you will need to make to your estate planning documents. Read on to learn more.

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

It is important to know that you may be unable to change certain documents in the midst of a divorce. Some of these documents may include a beneficiary designation of life insurance, retirement accounts or plans, and a pension. Sometimes, these designations have to stay in place until a divorce is final. As a result, it is important to look over the estate plan once again after a divorce is final. This ensures any missing details can be updated and nothing is overlooked. Failure to do so can result in litigation and possible unintended consequences.

What Documents Should I Update if I Am Getting Divorced?

Some of the most important documents to update include:

Healthcare Proxy

Many people appoint their spouses to make medical decisions on their behalf in the event that they cannot make these decisions for themselves. If you have appointed your spouse and you are going through a divorce, you will likely want to update this. 

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney allows another individual to make important legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Spouses usually appointed one another as their powers of attorney. If a spouse is your durable power of attorney, they have access to all your accounts and assets. This should be revoked and a new power of attorney should be appointed as soon as possible. Failing to do so can leave your ex with a lot of power. 

Your Will

If your ex is the executor of your estate, be sure to remove them. 

Do I Have to Leave Any Assets to my Ex-Spouse?

New York does not allow spouses to disinherit their partners or leave them only a small portion of the estate. The only way that assets can be protected is with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Be sure to speak with an estate planning attorney to determine what you legally need to leave to your ex.  

If you have any questions or concerns, contact our firm today.

Contact our Firm

The Lauterbach Law Firm is proud to serve clients throughout Rockland County who are faced with legal matters related to estate planning, real estate, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant law, business law, and criminal defense. If you require the services of an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

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