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How do I Prepare my Estate Plan Before a Divorce in New York?

How do I Prepare my Estate Plan Before a Divorce in New York?

It is important to update your estate plan after major life changes, such as divorce. In most cases of separation or divorce, spouses usually do not want their soon-to-be former spouse in a position of power in their life. In these situations, there are certain estate planning decisions that should be made. Continue reading to learn more and contact an experienced New York estate planning attorney for guidance.

Update Your Health Care Proxy

No one can ever predict the future, which is why it is important to be prepared for anything. In a serious car accident or life-changing illness were to happen, a person should be in place to take care of your medical decisions. Most people appoint their spouse in a marriage, but this should be updated to a different person during separation.

Change Your Power of Attorney

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.

Find Out What Can be Changed

Spouses are sometimes unable to change certain documents in the midst of a divorce. This may be for a beneficiary designation of life insurance, retirement accounts or plans, and a pension during the divorce. Sometimes, these designations have to stay in place until a divorce is final. If they can be changed, it is important to do so.

Update Your Will

If possible, your will should be updated to make sure your current spouse is not in charge of your estate. This can be accomplished by removing them as the executor.

Decide What You Want to Leave to Your Spouse

Leading up to a divorce, spouses sometimes wish to disinherit their partner from receiving assets if they become incapacitated or die. However, 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. 

Amend Your Trust

A revocable trust should be amended as soon as possible. These often contain assets and gifts for the family. If minor children are in the family, you may want a revocable trust with a trusted individual to maintain the assets. Without it, the children’s guardian will be in control of the money for your children after your death.

Revisit the Plan After the Divorce is Finalized

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.

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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