It probably goes without saying that divorce can be one of the most stressful and painful life events that anyone can go through. Even two partners who know divorce is the best route for the both of them, are likely to encounter a dispute or other problem during the divorce process. A divorce is a period of time in which the divorcing spouse must take action so they can protect themselves and their legacy.
Your estate lawyer is likely to advise reviewing your estate plan, and making adjustments where needed. Here’s how to help make sure that your ex doesn’t get any of your assets later on in life:
Naming a New Executor
If you wrote your estate plan while being married to your former spouse, then you may have appointed him or her as the executor of your will. If the last thing you want is for your ex spouse to inherit property and be responsible for managing your estate, then you need to appoint someone new as your executor. The new person you choose as an executor doesn’t have to be someone who is familiar with estate planning, but must be responsible and would only act in your best interest and not for the benefit of themselves.
Appointing New Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries are people that you wish to be given property, financial assets, or another belonging of yours after your passing. When people get married, a lot of times they state that they want everything to be left to their spouse. But post divorce, this is likely not the result you want anymore. Your lawyer may recommend starting completely fresh with a brand new will, in which you name beneficiaries that do not include your ex spouse.
That is, unless you want them to receive a portion of your estate after you have passed on. Some former spouses have decent relationships and actually want them to have something from the estate. If you do not have a kind dynamic with your ex spouse, then your lawyer may suggest writing a clause that prevents them from trying to petition for a portion of your assets after your death.
Appointing a New Guardian for Minor Children
In the event that your death occurs while your children are still minors, the court may deem that it is appropriate for your ex, who is their other parent, to take over custody. But, if your ex spouse has problems with drug addictions, financial stability, alcoholism, has a history of abuse, or something else that poses a danger to your children, then you must appoint a new guardian. If you strongly feel that the other parent should not be given custody of your children, then list these reasons in a letter that you attach to your will. This letter will give the judge information that may not otherwise be shared with the court, and emphasizes why you have made the decision that you did within the will.