Things Divorced Women Should Consider When Thinking about an Estate Plan

Written by Robert T. Nickerson

​No one ever said that the process of divorce was going to be easy. It require an amount of time to pick up the pace, but for woman, they can be targeted as the most affected financially. As said in a report by the UBS Global Wealth Management, about 56% of married women rely on their significant others to deal with financial arrangements and investments. Because of this, it’s easy for many women to feel overwhelmed during a divorce.
 
Emotion will cloud a lot of more rational decisions that need to be made. It’s important to stay focused on maintaining certain issues. This includes making financial choices, especially if you still have children, regardless of age. 
 
There are a lot of other problems that will arise, such as custody and property distribution that’ll require immediate attention. The future and your plans for it are just as important and also need to be looked into. It’s never too early to approach to deal with this task that’s often pushed aside (do it for your children). So here are some good pitfalls to avoid that many divorcing people do. 
 
1. Not Reassessing Their Current Will
Now that your no longer married, you’ll have to look at your old will to see what needs to be changed. This applies to assets and an update will reflect that. If your significant other was a beneficiary, then that will need to be changed to avoid trouble in the long run.
 
2. Not Looking Again at Your Children’s Guardianship Plan
None of us like the idea of seeing someone else raising our children. However, this is crucial in order to plan for the worst. If a guardian is not selected, it’s hard to tell which person, even if their close, would acquire custody of the kids of you were to die. If your husband had made a guardianship plan before, it may be a good time to rethink that. The previously chosen guardian may be a former spouse’s family member or a close friend.; someone that your no longer confortable with. Your now in a position where only you can make that decision. This is something that needs to be decided on before something should happen to you. If you don’t want that person to be a former spouse, you need to find someone else immediately.
 
3. Not Planning for All Assets
Chances are, you may be awarded a portion of your former spouses deferred savings, like a 401, IRA, or some other savings plan. Many divorced woman are not aware with how many assets they had when they were married.
 
Once you have a better look at your fair share, it’s needed in order to plan the exact amounts for your beneficiaries for those assets, which is already a crucial part of your estate plan. 
 
4. Failing to Incorporate Trusts Into Their Estate Plan
You never know what’s going to happen and trusts can help prepare your assets in various situations, especially if you have adult children. For example, your adult children may have credit issues or their own divorces. Having a trust ready can guarantee that your cash will still go to whomever you want it to go. Trusts can even be used for other things like postponing distribution until your children are eighteen.
 
5. Failing to Plan at All
The single biggest mistake someone can make is having nothing planned at all. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, Nearly 60% of Americans don’t have a will or an estate plan in place. There’s a lot of people that believe that their assets will automatically go to their next of kin, which is untrue. Unless if something is set up, the assets will go into probate, which is a timely and costly process. This will set up your children into spending a lot of money in order to see any of those assets. All this will do is cause more pain. While various states have their own probate laws, most are left to either receiving little or no assets at all. It’s always important to have an estate plan in place, even if that’s not on you mind. 
 
6. Not Seeking Help from a Professional
A lot of woman who are unfamiliar assume they can do it by themselves. A financial advisor who understands estate planning can be valuable during this time. It’s also advised that you seek out an experienced lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Avvo and Justia are good places to begin looking and can even narrow your search based on your location and needs. Without a professional, this could make you overlook area you could benefit from. 

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