It is finally over. The divorce process seemed like it took forever. The child support and custody arrangements are in place, you and your ex-spouse sorted the money, and your new life is waiting to start.
However, there is a niggling in the back of your mind. Something you try to remember you need to do. Is there anything concerning the divorce you still need to take care of?
During your marriage, you changed your will to give your spouse the responsibility of taking care of your family if the worst were to happen. Now, you may need to alter those documents, such as beneficiary designations, Powers of Attorney and child custody arrangements.
A large part of an estate contains insurance policies, retirement plans and other assets. You may have designated your spouse as the primary beneficiary. Now, you may need to review your documents. In the state of Illinois, the named beneficiary supersedes the will, so updating your will is not enough to keep your ex-spouse from getting your money and property.
Powers of Attorney
Along with your will, you may have given your spouse a Durable Power of Attorney to handle your affairs. Luckily in the state of Illinois, once the court enters a judgment of divorce or legal separation, the Powers of Attorney is void. In fact, the estate law states, “the spouse shall be deemed to have died at the time of the judgment for all purposes of the agency.”
If you have custody of your children and you die, in most cases, the ex-spouse will take over their care. The law, however, always looks after the best interests of the children. Your ex-spouse may not be an appropriate caretaker due to mental health issues, physical abuse, or drug or alcohol problems. You may want to provide for an alternate guardian in your will.
Reviewing your estate planning documents may give you peace of mind that your family’s future is stable. Keep a folder of all your paperwork to show the new information.