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Revising Your Estate Plan Pre-Divorce

If you are preparing to file for divorce, you may already have considered the consequences of dividing your marital assets. However, have you given any thought to pre-divorce estate planning? Although the designation of your estate may not seem to be a top priority when contemplating marriage dissolution, determining how to divide your assets in the event of your death or determining who will make healthcare decisions for you in the event of a medical emergency are of utmost importance. Why? Failure to create and/or revise your estate plan pre-divorce means that your future ex could potentially be entitled to a portion, if not all, of your assets, thereby detrimentally affecting the loved ones you leave behind. Furthermore, in the event of a medical emergency it may be left up to your ex-spouse to make life altering decisions for you, and while it is everyone's hope that the individual would make the proper decision, extremely contentious divorces may govern a person's way of thinking.

If you are evaluating or re-evaluating your estate plan you should consider the following courses of action: (1) create or revoke your will; (2) update beneficiary designations for your retirement account, bank accounts, and life insurance policies; (3) designate a power of attorney or create a living will.

STEP 1: CREATE A WILL

If you already possess a will, meet with an estate planning attorney to determine if you should amend your current will or revoke your previous will completely and create a new one. The following designations need to be determined:

  1. Who you will leave your assets to upon your passing;
  2. Who you will name executor of your estate to handle distribution of your assets; and
  3. Who will care for your child(ren).

STEP 2: APPRISE YOUR BENEFICIARIES

Unfortunately, as helpful as a will can be, certain assets may pass outside a will. Those assets include accounts in which you have previously named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. It is important that you request an update of beneficiaries as early as possible for doing so can be a time-consuming process.

STEP 3: CREATE A LIVING WILL AND DESIGNATE A POWER OF ATTORNEY

There are two types of health care documents that you should consider adding to your estate plan in the event of divorce: (1) an Appointment of Health Care Agent Form and (2) a Living Will. You will need to determine what individual will have the power of attorney to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. You will also need to determine the types of medical treatment you wish to receive in the event of certain medical situations (e.g. a decision to prolong life). In Tennessee, these two documents are typically combined into a single form known as an Advance Care Plan.

Executing your estate plan may seem like a daunting task, especially when you are initiating a divorce. However, estate planning is not something that should be delayed until the divorce process is in full swing. Such procrastination may mean that your final wishes will not be honored by the divorce court or will not be considered in the event of your death.

If you are contemplating divorce, please reach out to a Brentwood divorce attorney at Cole Law Group to ensure that you are fully protected. You can speak with us during office hours at 615-490-6020 or contact us via email from our website at www.colelawgrouppc.com.


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Cole Law Group
750 Old Hickory Blvd
Building 2
Suite 202
Brentwood, TN 37027

Phone: 615-490-6020
Fax: 615-942-5914
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