Getting divorced is no easy matter. While it can leave some individuals feeling emotionally devastated, others may be excited to start a new chapter in their lives. Regardless of which side of the spectrum on which a new divorcee falls, the stark reality is that change will occur, touching nearly every aspect of life. This includes estate planning. Those who fail to take another look at their estate plan after divorce may be setting their estate, and their loved ones, up for trouble.
There are many estate planning considerations that must be addressed following a divorce. For example, individuals may want to think about who is named in their health care proxy. This document, which names an individual to make important health care-related decisions in the event that the creator of the document becomes incapacitated, may leave an ex-spouse in charge of one's health if not changed. For most newly divorced individuals, having an ex-spouse responsible for those decisions is less than idea. This line of reasoning holds true for powers of attorney, too.
Financial matters related to estate planning should also be analyzed. For example, wills and trusts may need to be modified so that assets are not left to an ex-spouse, and insurance beneficiaries may need to be changed. Also, since custodial parents may be responsible for a child's finances until the age of 18, it might be wise to consider setting up a trust for one's children, which would prevent an ex-spouse from having control over those assets.
These are just a few of the many estate planning issues that need to be looked into shortly after a divorce. By sitting down with an experienced estate planning attorney, newly divorced Arizona residents can rest assured that their plan can be comprehensively overhauled to account for life's changes.