Getting a divorce? Don’t forget to update your estate plan

Couples fight over finances more than almost any other topic, and when personal finances are ailing, many marriages tend to go the same way.

If you and your spouse are victims of this phenomenon, there are many steps that can be taken to try to gain control of the fire before it gains control over you. Options range from finding professional marital counseling to a visit to your financial planner to help understand your financial options. Even if you overlook the emotional toll (which obviously is no small thing), the cost of saving a marriage is much less than the cost of dissolving it.

However, even the most determined and well-intentioned couples will sometimes end up going their own ways. If that does happen, it is more important than ever to ensure that you and your family (and your business if you have one) are protected.

It is likely that many of your tax-deferred savings accounts (retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.) name your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. It is also likely that if you created any estate planning documents pre-divorce, your ex is named as your health care agent, financial agent, executor, etc. If you had an amicable divorce you may still be okay with this, but what happens if your spouse remarries? What if he or she has children with the new spouse?

If you are recently divorced or going through a divorce, you are going to be overwhelmed, emotional and exhausted. The easiest thing in the world would be to put off your financial or estate planning. One word of warning:  Don’t.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only four Treasure Coast attorneys who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.