Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” I think that’s good advice for women at each stage of divorce. You see, it’s easy to tire and take your eye off the prize. But keep going. Dot every “i” and cross every “t”, so that you and those that you love can disconnect appropriately.
Whether you are in beginning or final stages of your divorce, it’s important to remain vigilant. Whether amiable or acrimonious, we have to make sure there are no blind spots that can affect your financial well-being. Here are a few issues to take care of to protect yourself and those you love.
If you have children, it may be time to update your will to include a Trust. This is a high priority item that can start before the divorce is final. Make sure that you name a conservator and a trustee. Your attorney may be able to use your existing will or living trust. However, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be the primary beneficiary and the executor or trustee. Check with your attorney on whether your state uses an elective share statute. If it does, your ex-spouse may be entitled to a percentage of your estate, regardless.
Power of Attorney
It may have been a good idea to have a Durable Power of Attorney (DBA) when you were married. However, consider revoking it sooner rather than later. Here’s why: a DPA can be used to transfer a spouse’s assets to the other party. Even if this can be reversed down the road, doing so will take time, attorney’s fees and needless aggravation.
Certain accounts require beneficiaries. I’ve met with clients who have their ex-spouse as the beneficiary on an old 401k or an IRA they have long since forgotten. Gather a list of your assets and insurance policies and consider changing your beneficiaries. Some accounts to look at:
- IRAs (Traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE).
- 401k, 403b and/or 457 accounts - These are employment retirement accounts. You may have received some of your ex-spouse’s through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
- Transfer on Death (TOD) accounts - These can be held at banks or brokerage firms.
- Trust documents - As mentioned before, the trustee and beneficiary should be changed if needed.
- Life Insurance.
Pull your credit report. Make sure that all the accounts are valid. If not make sure that your spouse’s name is removed from accounts that are now yours alone. Conversely, make sure your name is not attached to your spouse’s debts as well.
This list isn’t complete and may not apply to your specific situation. If you’d like, click here to contact us and we can help you follow through, step by step, line by line to make sure you disconnect and start the next chapter of your life.