Kansas Estate Planning Attorney Says Divorcing Spouses Should Update Their Estate Plans As Much As The Law Allows
Divorce brings with it many changes and adds many things to your to-do list. One of those things is updating your estate plan. Updating your estate plan can be tricky sometimes because, during the divorce process, your soon to be former spouse has rights that must be honored until the divorce is final. The key to successfully updating your estate plan during the season of your ongoing divorce is to make sure it continues to fulfill any legal obligations that you have to your spouse while adjusting it to maintain as much control over your assets as you are able. The following action steps can help you to do just that.
If you have a health care proxy that enables your soon to be former spouse to make medical decisions for you, it is essential that you update that document to remove them as your agent and name a different agent like a family member or a trusted friend. The same goes for any powers of attorney.
Depending upon the laws of your state, you can either update your will with a few fundamental changes or execute a new will. Whichever option is available to you, you will want to remove your spouse as your executor if they are named in your will as executor. If you are parents, your spouse will be the guardian of your children if you pass away and they are not unfit for that role. However, you may name an alternate guardian so that your children will experience a continuum of care if parental unfitness or death of your soon to be former spouse occurs. If you have made gifts to your spouse in your will, talk with your attorney about what the law requires you to leave them and then adjust your will so that it complies with the law while leaving them the minimum that is required unless you wish to leave them with more.
If one or more trusts are part of your estate plan, ask your attorney whether your state allows you to amend them. If you can, do it right away. Particular things you may want to change are gifts to your spouse and others in their family. Also, if you have kids and you have named your spouse as trustee for their assets, remove them as trustee and appoint someone else of your choosing so that that person, and not your soon to be former spouse, will manage and have access to your children’s money if you pass away.
If you would like to make plans to meet with a Kansas estate planning attorney, please call the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. today, at (316) 265-7802. Our location in Wichita is open weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We sometimes offer weekend or evening hours by appointment, and the opportunity to connect with us online through our website.