If you’re planning to get divorced, there are probably a thousand issues running through your head. Who will get custody of your children? How much will you have to pay in alimony? How will you move past the pain and resentment you feel toward your ex? With all of these dramatic life changes on the line, your estate plan is probably not at the top of your priority list.
However, chances are that if you have end-of-life plans in place, they probably include your spouse. Although it may be a somewhat morbid thought, you never know what the future will hold, and you don’t want to end up in an unfortunate circumstance where your ex receives power or benefits you didn’t intend for. Below are three important subjects you should discuss with your divorce attorney:
- Power of attorney: As soon as you file for divorce, remove your spouse as your medical power of attorney. If you’re suddenly in an accident or otherwise incapacitated, you probably don’t want your ex in charge of making life-and-death decisions on your behalf.
- Inheritance: If you have a will or trust, you should remove any benefits or inheritance your spouse is due to inherit at the start of the divorce proceedings. Fortunately, in Minnesota, any such inheritance will automatically be nullified once your divorce is final. However, if anything tragic were to happen to you in the meantime, the state will not recognize your pending divorce, and your spouse stands to gain. In addition, if your spouse is listed as your trustee, it is worth naming another individual in their place.
- Beneficiaries: If your spouse is listed as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, your retirement plan or any of your investments, you should remove them. If your divorce is already underway, Minnesota law will likely prohibit you from making any amendments to these plans until you get the final divorce decree. However, if you have not yet initiated the divorce proceedings, talk to a divorce attorney about whether you can revise these plans in advance.
If you’ve decided you want to file for divorce, it’s wise to meet with a divorce attorney as early in the process as possible. An attorney who understands the intersectionality between divorce and estate planning law can make sure all of your interests are attended to at the optimal point in the divorce proceedings.