Estate Planning in a Las Vegas Divorce
Going through a divorce is never easy. In addition to the emotional side of things, there are many financial considerations and changes that need to be made. Beyond resolving issues like property division, alimony, and child custody, the divorce process requires you to make adjustments large and small across many aspects of your life to account for your new situation.
Often your estate plan may have been done by one attorney for both you and your spouse. So you may need a new estate planning attorney. Divorce attorneys and estate planning attorneys are two separate law specialties. Lawyers experienced in complex divorce matters will often have a list of dedicated estate planning attorneys that they can recommend to you. Below, our divorce lawyers highlight general areas that you should consider when deciding what to do about your estate planning in a Las Vegas divorce.
Estate Planning Steps During and After Divorce
When you are married, your spouse often fills in for many of the important roles in your estate plan. Your spouse may be able to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. They may be the first to inherit your assets in an existing will. They are also likely either the source of your medical insurance or are covered by your health or life insurance policies. As you go through the divorce process, there are important estate planning steps to take in order to protect your family and financial future:
- Update Your Will. During your divorce, you may want to remove your spouse as a beneficiary, or at least adjust what you think they should inherit. You will likely want to make sure that they do not serve in important roles such as executor. Make sure your revised will accounts for any shared or separate children. Additionally, you or your spouse could remarry in the future and might have additional children, which could further complicate your inheritance desires.
- Update Your Medical Proxies. Medical proxies have the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. During your divorce, you may want to remove your spouse as your proxy and name a different family member or friend.
- Review Your Powers of Attorney. Someone with your “power of attorney” has the authority to make decisions regarding your finances and your assets. As a married couple, you might have executed powers of attorney giving each other access to your accounts and assets even while you have capacity, or you may have determined that they would have the power to make financial decisions should you lose mental capacity due to injury or illness. During your divorce, make sure that you have revoked all powers of attorney from your spouse so that they cannot access your accounts or make decisions on your behalf.
- Amend Your Trusts. If you have established any trusts, revisit the terms and conditions of those trusts. You also might need to revoke or amend a revocable trust in accordance with Nevada state law.
- Review Health Insurance and Life Insurance Policies. If you are covered by your spouse’s health insurance, you will need to find your own coverage after the divorce. You and your spouse may have life insurance policies naming each other as beneficiaries; those policies could become part of the divorce settlement, or they might be removed during or after the divorce. Discuss your policies with your divorce attorney and estate planning attorney to explore your options.
- Revisit Your Estate Plan. There are some steps you can take during your divorce, and there are others you should take once the divorce is finalized. Review your estate plan with your attorney(s) while the divorce is still pending, and make sure to revisit all aspects of your estate plan once again after the divorce process ends.
Advice from Expert Las Vegas Divorce Lawyers
Talk to an experienced divorce attorney for help on all aspects of your Las Vegas divorce, including the immediate and future concerns regarding estate planning. Our State Bar of Nevada Board Certified divorce lawyers have the dedication and institutional knowledge to guide you through all aspects of your divorce including property divisions, alimony, and child custody. They are well-versed in even the most complex and sensitive of divorce issues. Both Jennifer V. Abrams and Vincent Mayo offer courtesy phone consultations at no charge. Call 702-222-4021 to speak directly with one of them about your important divorce matter concerns.
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