When you are married to someone, you are planning on spending the rest of your life with that person. You are committing yourself to them in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, all of the days of your life.
Therefore, when problems occur in the marriage and divorce becomes a thought that is continuing to gain steam with every marital conflict, your long-term plan “for all of the days of your life” becomes a plan in need of adjusting.
In order to protect yourself and your future, it is important to get in touch with a family law attorney, whofocuses on the unique needs of men and fathers during the divorce and child custody processes. They have the tools necessary to protect you, your children, and your future moving forward.
Protecting your future is vital when going through the divorce process. You may have had a plan in place that reflects you still being married, and if you are considering a divorce, it is vital that those plans are adjusted. They need to reflect your new wishes, so that your assets do not go to those you no longer wish them to go to, should anything happen to you.
If you have an estate plan set up, it is important that you contact your elder law attorney and adjust your estate plan to reflect your post-divorce wishes.
If you do not, your estate plan still may have your ex-spouse listed as a beneficiary to your will, which would entitle them to any listed assets that you previously may have left them before the divorce process began.
Those that need to worry about the fine print in their estate plan are the ones who have written it, and often times, these are individuals age 50 and older, who have taken the steps to plan for their future. Therefore, when divorce occurs, they sometimes are within the age range to classify the divorce as a gray divorce.
These types of divorces have doubled between 1990 and 2009, according to research from Bowling Green State University, and research from the University of North Carolina has found that those who experienced a gray divorce experience an increase in their life satisfaction, regardless of their gender.
However, that increase in life satisfaction also came with higher levels of pressure, strain, and stress, which was attributed to the uncertainty of the moment. Those pursuing divorce have no guarantee that they will find someone new in their lives, and those doing so over the age of 50 may be more fearful, due to the notion that they have no idea how much time they may have left.
Time is a vital factor during the divorce process, and when it comes to your retirement, you do not want to take any chances, in regards to how you plan for your future. Because of the unknown future, it is imperative that you adjust your directives, to reflect your new situation in life.
Changes in estate plan
This means changing your health care proxy, in cases of a medical emergency, where you may be unable to make the decision for yourself. You do not want the doctors to call your ex-spouse and allow them the privilege of making a decision on your behalf, entirely based on an unchanged proxy.
This includes your Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney document is a written authorization that allows you, as the named principal, to formally appoint a trusted individual to make decisions and take action on your behalf.
There are different types that can extend or limit responsibilities, depending on your wishes. A durable Power of Attorney remains in effect if the principal becomes mentally or physically incapacitated, and for those that have them, it ensures that the principal’s affairs are handled exactly how they wanted them.
Elder law attorneys advise revisiting a Power of Attorney document regularly, so that it reflects your most up-to-date wishes. This includes after your divorce is finalized.
In addition to health care proxies and Powers of Attorney, you also will need to amend any will or trust that includes your ex-spouse, unless you want them to receive the assets that you included in a will or trust prior to the divorce process beginning.
These types of decisions are important to your financial future. They will protect your interests and give you the necessary plan to shape your future and the future of your loved ones.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.