I just learned that this is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. One of our terrific attorneys, Christine Fletcher, has written a quick piece explaining the importance of having your estate planner working on a team with your other “people” when making financial decisions. Some may consider this a dry or morbid topic, but in reality it’s a hugely important one. Post-divorce, everyone should immediately change their will, change the beneficiaries on their retirement accounts and, if you haven’t already, change your health care proxies and durable powers of attorney.
One of the questions we see people seeking answers for on this blog is “Does your ex-spouse inherit your estate if you unexpectedly die?” The short answer is that it depends on your situation. It may depend on the state, the asset, how titles are held, etc. Some states (such as MA) have probate laws to cut off divorced spouses, but getting a financial institution in another state to abide by those laws can be a costly and time consuming project! You need to be especially careful with beneficiary designations. And while you are at it – you should make sure you’ve complied with the life insurance obligations in your divorce agreement.
All the more reason that you need to follow up with a qualified financial and estate planner after a divorce!