Anyone who has gone through the process of a divorce knows how overwhelming the experience can be. There are tons of things to consider and everything seems to be a priority. What do we do with the house? The cars? The bank account? What do we tell the kids, and how do we negotiate our lives apart? What about what’s in the house; things such as our furniture, appliances, and family pictures? The list seems endless, and in some ways, it always will be.
Once you’ve gotten to the point where things feel settled and under control, there are still important parts of life that you’ve put on the backburner that need to be addressed. One of these is your will.
In the whirlwind of surging emotions and a seemingly unending to-do list, perhaps you forgot about that critical item. You need to make changes to this all-important document that will have life-changing ramifications on those you love most. If you don’t, it’s possible that your prized possessions will end up going to someone you’d rather not have them, or to the state.
Here are some of the significant points that you should address when updating your will after divorce:
- Be sure to include everyone you care about. In the flurry of paperwork, it’s understandable that someone may fall through the cracks. It sounds simple, but make a list of all of the people you would like to be on your will—even include people who might be on your will. You may be surprised who you overlooked when you look at that list again.
- Children should be your priority. During this process, it may seem like everything is life-altering, but your children should be the most important of the most important. Keep in mind that your former spouse may still be alive after you pass, and if so, he/she will most likely become legal guardian to any small children you may share. Is that okay with you? If not, you’ll want to name a legal guardian of your choosing in the event of your passing. Also, if you remarry, your new husband or wife will automatically become your beneficiary. You’ll want to make provisions for your children just in case this happens.
- Make it legal. Making changes to a will is the act of making changes to a legally binding document, so there are rules and procedures that you must follow to make sure it’s bulletproof in a court of law. You don’t want your ex to be able to contest what happens after you’re gone.
If you don’t have a reliable legal friend to help you through this tricky proceeding, you’re in luck. Kreisher Marshall & Associates, LLC has four decades of experience here in Central Pennsylvania, with a focus on providing legal counsel to families in need. Give us a call at (570) 784-5211 to schedule a free consultation with a Columbia County estate planning attorney today.