If you are going through a divorce, you may have been focused on tasks related to completing the actual divorce. It is important not to forget a few key post divorce tasks. Here are a few tips from our Melrose MA divorce attorneys.
Change Designated Beneficiaries
It is likely that your ex-spouse is listed as a beneficiary on several different policies that you own. Among these are life insurance (both personal and through your work place), 401(k) plans, IRA accounts, and pension plans. Some of these may be mentioned in your separation agreement. Be sure to submit the necessary paperwork to elect a new beneficiary for each, if needed. Although Massachusetts has a Uniform Probate Code that disqualifies ex-spouses from being beneficiaries of such plans, this has proven to be unenforceable in some cases. Making the necessary changes will help prevent disputes and protect the rights of your intended beneficiaries should you become deceased.
Close Joint Accounts
It is important to discontinue using joint account. Instead, establish new accounts in just your name. Although your ex-spouse may not be using those accounts any longer, it is never a good idea for you to actively use them after divorce. For bank accounts, be sure to also update any direct deposits or automated payments linked to the account. Direct deposit changes can be made with your employer. Automated payments can be canceled within the old account (if using online banking). Don’t forget to also consider any payments that may be processed through your debit card. You may need to contact each of the companies directly to provide the information on your new card.
Update Health Care Proxies
You may have previously filled out health care proxy forms authorizing your ex-spouse to make medical decisions on your behalf. These forms may be on file at your doctor’s office and/or local hospital. Promptly submit new forms so that your family will not encounter any issues should you become ill.
Update Wills and Trust Documents
Estate plans should be updated as soon as possible. The first change should be your will. Contact your attorney regarding trusts and other estate planning documents that may also require updating.
Melrose MA Divorce Tips on Post Divorce Tasks
Finalizing your divorce does not necessarily protect your assets and your heirs if you forget to make some key changes to your accounts and policies. It is critical that you take care of the above post divorce tasks as soon as possible. You may even address many of these before your divorce is completed. For assistance with divorce and/or estate planning, contact the attorneys at Martino Law Group.