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Family situations change. Your plan needs to change with your family. When divorce rewrites the future of your estate, you need to change who will make decisions for you. Sentinel Law Group, P.C. offers these important estate planning services to individuals in divorce proceedings, as well as those who would like to secure their legacy with first-rate and careful assistance.

Estate PlanningWhat Should Estate Planning Ideally Do For Us? What Should It Accomplish?

Estate planning is about decision-making. When the time comes that we’re no longer able to make decisions for ourselves, who’s going to make decisions for us?

In the context of divorce, it is important to note that estate plans normally give significant decision-making authority to the person who’s going to be an ex-spouse. I’ve had some clients who’ve been in the middle of a divorce process when their spouse dies or is hospitalized suddenly. In these times, there are critical, sometimes end-of-life decisions that need to be made. You may not want your ex making end-of-life decisions for you, so it’s crucial to have an accurate plan in place, which requires changes in the divorce arena.

The other major aspect of estate planning is deciding who you desire to benefit from the assets and resources of your estate.

What Basic Key Documents should Be Part Of Everyone’s Estate Planning?

If you’re filing for a divorce, whether you’ve had a previous durable power of attorney or not, you should delegate someone other than your spouse to be your decision-maker and create a new durable power of attorney.

In Utah, the advanced healthcare directive will allow you to handpick someone to be involved with all your medical decision-making.

You also have a will or a trust that specifies how assets will be distributed among beneficiaries. If you don’t have a will or trust in place, most assets default to your spouse. Until a judge signs the divorce decree, your former spouse is still legally considered your spouse and thus is entitled to their own legal rights.

Estate PlanningIt’s relatively easy to make changes to your estate based on what happens in life, so it’s wise to keep it updated. Overall, the durable power of attorney and advanced healthcare directive are the most important documents which everyone should have. If you have children or assets for which you have specific interests, then you should certainly be thinking about a will or a trust as well.

Is Estate Planning A One-Size-Fits-All Or Does Every Phase In Everyone’s Life Require Something Different Or Different Tools?

Every estate plan has the same basic elements, but it’s an adaptable plan. Depending on your financial situation and specific goals, there are different tools you can use. If you’re a young couple and have young children, having chosen guardians for the children is probably most important. When we’re younger, our biggest assets tend to be our children. As we get older, we’ve had time to pay off our mortgage and accumulate more assets.

You certainly don’t have to start from scratch on your estate plan every 10 years but it’s certainly critical to periodically review it. Ensure that you’re adapting to any changes in the law and making regular adjustments to fit with your evolving life circumstances.

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