Going through a divorce is one of the most significant events within an Oklahoma resident's life. The timeframe both during and immediately after a divorce can be hectic, and is often filled with myriad tasks that both parties must attend to. Making alterations to one's estate planning package should rank high on any post-divorce to-do list. Failing to take care of this matter can have disastrous results, both to the individuals involved and their extended families.
When considering estate planning and divorce, the chief item that many people focus on is making changes to their will. While this is certainly an important consideration, it is not the only estate planning matter that deserves attention after the end of a marriage. Documents that designate one's chosen proxies also require a fresh look after a divorce.
Consider, for example, an estate plan that includes paperwork designating both a medical and financial power of attorney. In many cases, married spouses select each other as their chosen representative in the event that they should become incapacitated. Just because a divorce takes place does not mean that such designations are rendered void. Without going back and drafting new power of attorney paperwork, the prior designations will stand.
This could result in a scenario in which one's former husband or wife is tasked with making all medical and/or financial decisions in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury. Imagine the turmoil that such a situation would cause for friends and family who are already distraught. Not only could a contentious and expensive legal battle result, a great many medical and financial decisions could be made before the matter every gets before a court of law. For many in Oklahoma, imagining this outcome is enough to prompt an appointment to make the appropriate post-divorce estate planning changes.
Source: Market Watch, "Just divorced? Don't forget to separate your estate plans", Liz Moyer, Feb. 23, 2015