September 03, 2023
Picture this: You’ve recently undergone a divorce in Oklahoma, and amidst the emotional turmoil and logistical considerations, the thought of updating your estate plan hasn’t crossed your mind. This oversight, however, could bear potentially dire consequences for you and your loved ones.
An outdated will or estate plan after a divorce can lead to unintended outcomes that do not align with your current wishes. Imagine your hard-earned assets unwittingly going to an ex-spouse, or worse still, your children’s guardianship falling into the wrong hands. These are not merely hypothetical scenarios but real possibilities if steps aren’t taken promptly to update your estate plan.
At Inner Vision Legal, we offer comprehensive family law services, including representation for both divorce and estate planning matters, because we understand that these issues are often closely related, and our clients prefer to work with a single team for all their legal needs.
Regardless of your health, age, or income level, having a valid last will and testament is important. As one of the most basic yet often overlooked types of estate planning documents, it details any property, assets, or debts you possess, dictates your final wishes to family members and friends, and helps to avoid potentially costly and contentious probate proceedings.
Failure to revise your will or other related documents post-divorce can drastically affect the distribution of your property and finances. Consider the following issues and how they might be impacted:
Healthcare decisions: One of the first steps to take after divorce is naming a new healthcare proxy, someone who is empowered to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to express your wishes. If this is not updated, your ex-spouse may be left in charge of these critical decisions.
Beneficiaries: Divorce alone is often not enough to remove your former spouse as the beneficiary of your financial accounts. If something happens to you, and your will and beneficiaries have not been updated, your ex could receive control over your bank accounts, retirement funds, insurance benefits, and more.
Care of minor children: If you are a parent of small children, be sure to include arrangements for their care. Speak to the person you select as guardian, and make sure your will provides for the funds they will need to care for your children.
Final arrangements: Rather than including funeral arrangements in your will, consider having a separate document attached to it detailing your wishes and making loved ones aware it exists.
Provide for pets: Animal owners should consider making provisions for the care of their pets in their will. This includes naming a guardian and providing funds for feeding, vet bills, and other expenses.
Divorce is a big transition for most families, and the legal issues it creates can often extend beyond the marriage itself. While there are many issues to consider, don’t overlook the importance of an updated estate plan. This can make sure your family members and friends have clear instructions in the event the unexpected occurs.
If you are considering divorce or have been served with a divorce petition, we can help. Reach out and contact Inner Vision Legal to request a consultation with our wills and estates attorneys. We can guide you in creating the documents needed in your particular situation, providing you peace of mind in knowing those you care about are protected.