Family Law Attorneys Assist with Post-Divorce Legal Matters for Washington Divorcees
Most people would say that divorce is one of the most traumatic events in an adult’s life. As some marriage counselors indicate, the “death of the family” can be as earth-shattering as a “death in the family.” Some say that in the time following the divorce, a person can even feel numb. He or she can have difficulty making mundane decisions. Some indicate it’s all they can do to get out of bed in the morning.
Legal experts note that as difficult as it may be to face the future, anyone who has gone through a divorce should pay careful attention to a number of important matters. Here are four vital items to put on your post-divorce “To Do” list.
“To Do” Number 1: Have a New Will Drawn Up
While a divorce is pending, one’s spouse is, of course, still one’s spouse. Any will that you have in place is valid, as to your spouse. It may not, of course, reflect the way you want your property to go if you were to die, but until the divorce is final, each spouse has certain statutory rights to both marital and separate property. You may be able to change your will even while the divorce is pending to ensure that your share of assets passes to someone other than you soon-to-be ex-spouse.
While it is true that following a divorce, a provision in the will leaving property to one’s former spouse is no longer effective, that doesn’t mean that you can leave your will in place. While your “ex” won’t inherit under your will, it is doubtful that your old will designates how the property would otherwise be handled. That can only be accomplished with a new will.
“To Do” Number 2: Amend, if You Can, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Documents
As part of their overall estate plan, many couples execute trusts to care for minor children if something should prevent the couple from being able to care for them. These trust documents must also be examined to determine what changes should be made. For example, if you named your “ex-brother-in law” as trustee, do you still want that arrangement to stay in place?
“To Do” Number 3: Powers of Attorney
This item is often overlooked. If you executed a power of attorney designating your spouse as the attorney in fact, that designation is revoked by your divorce. You will no doubt want to execute a new power of attorney to appoint a new attorney in fact.
“To Do” Number 4: Bank Accounts, Life Insurance Policies, and Retirement Accounts
Remember that all property doesn’t pass to one’s heirs via a will. If you designated your spouse as beneficiary of a life insurance policy, your divorce generally has no effect on it. He or she still is the beneficiary. The same applies for many bank accounts and retirement accounts. Note too that the separation agreement and divorce decree may affect what changes you can make.
Divorce and Post-Divorce Estate Planning Are Serious Business
Have you and your spouse discussed divorce? Have you recently divorced and you’re now wondering, “what’s next?” Seeking guidance from an experienced, caring family law attorney is a smart first step. Where post-divorce life is sometimes confusing, a firm like Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. can provide clarity. We have more than 30 years of combined experience providing quality family law and estate planning services to individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our attorneys work together to find solutions. You benefit from the experience of not just one attorney, but all the attorneys at Blado Kiger Bolan. We don’t believe in complicating matters and driving up costs. If there’s a simple solution, that’s our first choice. We work closely with you to resolve matters quickly and economically. Contact us on the web, or call our office at 253-272-2997.