EP 143: Post-Divorce Finances (Part 7): Key Financial Documents to Update After Divorce

This is the final episode in a 7-part series on your post-divorce finances. Some documents and accounts need to be updated by the time your divorce is finalized (or as soon as possible after it is finalized). This practice can potentially prevent many future problems.

One set of documents involves estate planning. They contain details about what should be done in the event of your death or incapacitation. The first thing to consider is the last will or trust, which lists the beneficiaries who will receive your assets or property when you pass away. If your ex-spouse is included, this information may need to be changed.

Another set of documents is called a medical power of attorney or medical proxy. This document lists the person who will be in charge of making medical decisions if you cannot.  A similar document is the financial power of attorney, which also needs to be updated if you do not want your ex-spouse making financial decisions in the event of your incapacitation. These documents are fairly easy to set up, but if you do not have them, a judge will be forced to make these decisions for you.

The next item is a checkbox about most of the financial accounts you may have, which is called the beneficiary designation. Here, you will list the person who will get your account or assets should you pass away. Whether you are preparing for divorce or have finalized it, you should update this information.

Other miscellaneous accounts also need to be updated post-divorce. You can check the accounts you have in common with your spouse by checking your credit report. They include bank accounts, credit cards, vehicle registration and titles, insurance policies, and retirement and investment accounts. Depending on the settlement, you should either remove your name or your ex-spouse’s name from these documents and accounts.  You also need to update documents with emergency contact information.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for personalized coaching services. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.