Divorce is never as simple as having a few meetings with your divorce lawyer and going before a judge in Wyomissing. For instance, if you and your wife started a business together, it might take months of valuation procedures before you can agree on a total value of the company in order to fairly divide it as part of the settlement. This is just one of many issues you will have to address during the divorce process.
Unfortunately, dividing marital assets is not the only thing you have to worry about during divorce. In fact, there are still some very important items you will have to take care of. Now that you probably no longer consider your future ex-wife to be your primary beneficiary, it is time to update your estate plan.
Change your power of attorney
As part of your general estate plan, you may have created a power of attorney and listed your wife to act as your agent. Now that you have decided to divorce, you more than likely will not want your ex to continue to have the authority to act on your behalf. While most states, at the time you file for divorce, will cease to recognize the authority that the power of attorney previously granted to your ex, if something happens to you before this she could still act as your agent. As soon as you decide to divorce, update the power of attorney with someone else you trust to make decisions on your behalf.
Don't forget about the medical directive
This is also the time to update your living will and medical directive. Again, you probably do not want your soon-to-be ex to decide whether or not you should stay on a breathing machine if something unexpected happens to you. If you have already made the decision to divorce, take the time to update these documents.
Change your beneficiaries
You will also need to change the beneficiary information on life insurance accounts, pensions and any annuities you own. The financial institutions that have custody of these kind of accounts will not know that you have divorced, nor will they know the details of your divorce settlement. Unless you make the changes, your wife may remain as the primary beneficiary on these accounts.
If you are planning to divorce, keep in mind that you will need to make changes to your estate plan. Take the time to update beneficiary information as well as those you want to act as your agents in case you become incapacitated.