Divorce is a life-changing event that affects not only your personal life, but also various related financial and legal matters. As you transition from married to singlehood, one of the most important affairs to take care of following the conclusion of your divorce proceedings is estate and will planning. In this article, we’ll go over the steps you need to take after a divorce to ensure that your estate and will reflect your new circumstances.
Learn More: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Singapore?
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning refers to the process of managing your assets, finances, and personal affairs to ensure that they will be distributed according to your wishes should you become incapacitated or die. An estate plan should detail the assets you have, how they will be distributed, who your beneficiaries are, and who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.
Why is Estate Planning After Divorce Important?
There are many aspects of your life that you wouldn’t want your former spouse to be a part of following a divorce. This includes not wanting them to be the beneficiary of your estate, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or investment accounts. Should you neglect to update these designations, you risk having your ex-spouse inheriting the assets that were originally intended for someone else.
Estate planning takes on an additional, crucial role if you have children—ensuring their well-being in the event of your passing. In the will, you can name guardians for any minor children and even establish trusts to manage inheritance meant for them. This can provide them financial security and stability should you pass away.
Apart from managing your assets, you’ll also need to update your healthcare directives or Powers of Attorney for healthcare to designate someone other than your former spouse to make medical decisions on your behalf in case of incapacitation.
Need help drafting a will? Consider seeking legal assistance from a family lawyer. They will be able to provide guidance and ensure that your will is legally valid.
What are the Steps to Take?
1. Update Your Will
After a divorce, one of the most important steps you need to take is to update your will. You’ll likely want to redesignate beneficiaries and the distribution of assets, name new guardians for your children, as well as outline how your assets should be distributed upon your death.
2. Revoke or Amend Power of Attorney
If you had previously given your ex-spouse the authority to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf, you may want to revoke or amend these documents after the divorce. Consider designating a trusted friend or family member to take on these responsibilities instead.
3. Review Matrimonial Assets
The assets acquired during your marriage are subject to division upon divorce. Do review and make necessary adjustments to the distribution of these assets in your estate plan, especially if the divorce settlement involves the transfer or sale of properties or financial assets.
4. Consider Establishing or Amending Trusts
Trusts are legal arrangements made between two parties to manage assets for the benefit of a beneficiary. They are usually established to safeguard the estate and provide for dependents who are unable to make sound financial decisions themselves. For example, minor children or those with intellectual disabilities.
After a divorce, you may want to set up new trusts or modify any existing ones to ensure that the assets you’ve left for your beneficiaries will be administered and distributed in accordance with your wishes.
Estate planning, especially after a divorce, can be an extremely complex process. To ensure that your post-divorce plans are legally sound and aligned with your goals, it’s strongly recommended that you consult a professional family lawyer in Singapore.
The team of legal experts at Family Law Specialists is always ready to help you navigate the complex estate planning process following a divorce. Receive your legal assistance here.