When going through a divorce, it is easy to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Most people just want the process to be over (understandably so), and they focus all of their time and attention on negotiating a fair settlement or working toward obtaining a favorable final order from the judge.
But, in addition to working through support, property division, timesharing (custody), and all of the other issues involved in your divorce, it is also important to look toward the future. In particular, the transition from married life to single life requires careful reconsideration of your finances and estate plan.
Reconsidering Your Finances After a Divorce
During your marriage, you may have made several decisions about your finances which, at the time, you took for granted. Now that you are getting divorced, you need to make sure that you update all of your records and accounts accordingly. Some of the most common updates that need to be made include:
- Restricting access to bank accounts that should be in your name only
- Changing beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies
- Changing names on utilities and cell phone plans
- Budgeting for life without your former spouse’s income (taking into account any child support and alimony rights or obligations)
- Changing passwords for Amazon, PayPal, and any other online services that have access to credit card or banking information
You may also need to make different elections for federal tax purposes now that you are divorced. For example, whether you are able to claim your children as dependents on your tax return will depend on the percentage of support that comes from your income as opposed to your former spouse’s.
Updating Your Estate Plan
Whether or not you have an existing estate plan, finalizing your divorce is a good reason to think about putting a contemporary estate plan in place. If you currently have an estate plan, you will need to make sure to update all of your documents to reflect your new marital status. If you do not have an estate plan, now is a good time to put one together, since your divorce has already forced you to take stock of your assets and finances. Depending on your wishes and the size of your estate, your plan may need to include:
- A will
- Revocable or irrevocable trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Living wills
- Medical directives
Many people wait longer than they should to put together their estate plans. They think the process will be difficult and expensive, and they want to avoid the hard decisions involved in the process. At Beller & Bustamante, P.L., we provide efficient, cost-effective estate planning solutions, and we can help you update or create your plan along with handling your divorce.
Beller & Bustamante, P.L. | Family and Estate Planning Lawyers in Jacksonville, FL
If you would like to learn more about the steps you need to take before, during, and after your divorce, we invite you to contact us for an initial consultation. To speak with an attorney, please call (904) 288-4414 or send us an email today.