Getting divorced is a life changing and difficult time, and the emotional upheaval can make it hard to focus on practical matters than need to be addressed. When a marriage ends, there are several steps that should be taken to protect yourself and your interests and three of the most important ones include:

Updating your will

You can update your will at any time, but if you want to prevent your ex from receiving any money or privileges in your will, you will need to revoke your old will and create a new one. Your will is where you can leave property and money to the people of your choice, name an executor to carry out your wishes and wrap up your estate, and list a guardian for your children (if necessary).

Updating your beneficiaries on financial accounts

Update the beneficiary forms for any life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts you have. Since the beneficiary on each account will receive the money in that account when you pass away, it’s important to update the beneficiaries on all of your accounts if the designations will be different than your ex’s name. What would happen if you don’t update your beneficiaries? Let’s say, for example, that your ex-spouse remains the beneficiary on a life insurance policy and you pass away. The money would go to your ex instead of, say, your kids. Make sure your beneficiaries are updated to the people you want to get your accounts because whoever is listed on your accounts will receive that money upon your death.

Updating your power of attorney for financial decisions

A power of attorney allows an agent, or person granted with power, to have authority to enter into any transaction on behalf of the person, or principal, who granted the agent power. In Illinois and a couple other states, the date of divorce automatically revokes powers of attorney granted from one spouse to another. However, institutions that the agent spouse has the right to interact with might not be aware of the official divorce and the fact that the POA privilege is no longer valid. As a result, it’s a good idea to officially revoke the POA even if the divorce in your state does it for you. A principal can revoke his or her power of attorney at any time, even prior to divorce.

If you’re looking for legal assistance during your divorce, contact Kafoglis Law for a consultation or more information.