After the divorce is final there are some important next steps to take that people often overlook. Here are some things to consider doing after the divorce.
1. Create or Update Your Will
Check your life insurance policies and you should either change the beneficiary if it is your spouse unless you make an informed decision that you still want your spouse to be the named beneficiary.
Check the deed on your house. The spouse who keeps the house should be sure the other spouse’s name is removed as an owner.
Your Will needs to be updated. You may have had an estate plan with your spouse, but now that that relationship is over, you should revisit this and one of the changes may include updating the executor of your estate. You also need to redo the accompanying documents like the statutory durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney and the directive to physicians, also known as a “DNR”. These documents fill the gap in the event you are incapacitated or disabled and unable to make your own financial or medical decisions. Check the deed on your house. The spouse who keeps the house should be sure the other spouse’s name is removed as an owner.
2. Life Insurance
The primary beneficiary of your life insurance policy may be your spouse. Unless you intend for your ex to be the beneficiary you should update your policy. Sometimes the divorce decree will also require you to have a life insurance to cover your child support obligation. Check your life insurance policies so that you can change the beneficiary if it is your ex-spouse, unless you make an informed decision that you still want your ex-spouse to be the named beneficiary.
3. The House
Depending on who keeps the house, you should make sure that the deed reflects ownership. If you are keeping the house, then make sure the ex-spouse’s name is off the deed. If you are not keeping the house you will want to make sure that your name is removed as well. You should also update your mailing and residential address as soon as possible.
4. Retirement Plan
Part of the divorce settlement will include a division of the retirement accounts. You should update your retirement accounts (Just like a life insurance policy) to make sure that you have selected the new beneficiary.
5. Personal Information
If you decide to change your last name, you need to update your social security card and get a new driver’s license. It is important that you get at least one certified copy of the court order which includes your name change.
6. Other Documents to Update
- Auto insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Bank accounts
- Credit accounts
These are important next steps to take after your divorce to create a peace of mind for yourself, your children and sometimes your former spouse. This list will help you to organize your post-divorce actions so you can truly start to move on and begin life anew. Most important of all, your loved ones will benefit from updating your estate planning documents in the event of unforeseen circumstances.