Recent cases regarding wills highlight the necessity for ex-partners to update their financial arrangements as soon as possible after a split. Delays can cause legal headaches if your ex-spouse dies before you have made the necessary changes to financial documentation.
Couples often think about consent orders for property, and signing divorce papers in order to move on, but how many also remember to change other related documents dealing with your affairs?
Speak to both a family lawyer and an Estate lawyer when separating to make sure your will, beneficiary designations and other financial documents reflect your wishes post-split. If you do not, or if you fail to alert all relevant parties to the changes, you could find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your assets or benefits unintentionally go to your former spouse or his or her family upon your death.
Financial advisors stress the need to stay on top of your estate plans when you separate. This means drafting new wills and making sure the appropriate people have copies of the document or know where to access it. You may also need to change:
- financial powers of attorney;
- Enduring powers of attorney (living wills, in cases of sickness)
- Identity of beneficiaries in financial documents—for example, bank accounts, insurance policies and superannuation (such as binding death nomination of your super fund)
If you previously used an estate planner together with your spouse, now is the time to consider seeking out individual advisors to avoid conflicts of interest. Should you need assistance in obtaining expert financial advice or accountancy services, please feel free to contact us here at Alliance Family Law for a referral to one of our recommended practitioners.