Once your marriage is terminated, it is critical to re-evaluate any of the estate planning mechanisms that you have put in place. This would include reviewing your wills, trusts, financial powers of attorney, health care power of attorney, and living will. This will also include review of your beneficiary designations for your 401(k), IRA, life insurance policies, pensions, and annuity plans. Any transfer on death (TOD) bank accounts and payable on death (POD) accounts must also be reviewed. Simply because you have terminated your marriage does not mean these designations of your ex-spouse are void. If you do not re-evaluate these matters, your ex-spouse could potentially receive your hard earned assets upon your death.
Additionally, we suggest at a minimum that you have the following estate documents in place: a will, a living will/health care power of attorney, and a financial power of attorney. In Ohio, your spouse has certain rights and the ability to help make certain financial decisions on your behalf upon marriage. Once you are divorced, Ohio law does not have in place any other designated party that can make such decisions for you. Accordingly, it is critical that you have estate planning documents in place to identify who you would like to make decisions on your behalf.
A review of all of your estate planning options is prudent at this time. You can avoid costly mistakes and over-sights that may have occurred, particularly related to assets that you do not routinely review.