Many of a Washington couple’s emotions and energy are invested in the divorce procedure. Numerous difficulties must be resolved through discussion, arbitration, or court action.
While estate planning may not be top of mind, it should be tackled as the divorce progresses. It is better to modify during the breakup process while delaying others until after the divorce is completed.
Before making any economic or other legal changes, consult a tacoma estate planning lawyer. It is crucial to evaluate the effects on everyone, especially young children.
Making changes during the divorce
Make sure your soon-to-be ex cannot inherit or take control of your assets if you pass away or become disabled before the divorce is official. Many estates planning documents can be modified following a divorce in Washington. However, modifications must comply with any clauses in prenuptial, postnuptial, or divorce agreements.
During the divorce, think about drafting or amending the following estate planning documents:
- Legal authority. Once a divorce action is filed, your spouse will no longer possess these powers under Washington’s Uniform Power of Attorney Act. However, if you want someone you can trust to handle your legal, financial, or healthcare affairs in the event of incapacitation, do so now.
- Superior Directive. This document, which is also known as a living will, states your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care. These instructions let your family members and medical professionals understand what you would want if you could not communicate.
- Will. An impending divorce may be an excellent opportunity to prepare a will if you do not already have one. If you pass away while the divorce is pending, your ex-spouse can obtain the property you planned for someone else if you do not have a will. Remember that even if a will specifies otherwise, your partner may have certain claims to their portion of the estate if you continue to be legally married.
After the divorce is finalized, the following adjustments need to be made:
- Accounts for retirement. In Washington, retirement assets acquired during a marriage are regarded as communal property. These accounts are often discussed in the divorce, much like other assets.
- Term life insurance. In a divorce, life insurance plans might be a negotiating point.
- Trusts. The appointment of a former partner as a trustee of a revocable or living will be immediately revoked upon divorce.
- Will. Once a divorce is finalized, all bequests made to an ex-spouse in a will are regarded as invalid.