Divorces and separations are stressful times for everyone involved. This applies to finances as well as emotions. Oftentimes couples separating think of some of the obvious hurdles that come with a breakdown of a relationship, such as child or spousal support, custody & access, and the matrimonial home. While those are no doubt issues to be worked through, there are a number of other items to keep in mind that may not be so obvious.
A will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for your estate after you pass away. It is critical to have an up-to-date will that is well-drafted and reflective of your intentions. A will should be updated after getting married and having kids, but it should also be updated after a separation or divorce, especially if your will leaves a significant portion of your estate to your former spouse. If your will is not updated, and you do pass away, your former spouse will be entitled to anything the will provides for them, and wills are not negated by a separation or divorce.
Power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document granting someone the authority to act on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. There are two types of power of attorney; those for property and those for personal care. It’s natural for people to name their spouse as their power of attorney. However, following a separation it would be wise to reconsider whether you still want your former spouse to serve in that capacity. Like a will, a named power of attorney will still be enforced following a separation.
Insurance and benefits
Insurance and benefits are a little more complicated. While someone may wish to remove their spouse as a beneficiary of insurance policies, pension plans, or other investments, others may wish to allow their former spouse to benefit from some, or all of these. One party to a separation may also wish to keep their former spouse and/or children covered under health, drug, or dental benefit plans. In order to do this, a separation agreement may be drafted to provide this. Separation agreements are contracts between former spouses that address important issues such as the division of assets, equalization payments, the matrimonial home, and more. Not all plans allow for non-spouses to be beneficiaries under a plan, so it is worthwhile to confirm what your specific plan allows once you separate or divorce.
The exceptional team of lawyers at Borden Family Law can help you through all matters related to family law. We focus exclusively on family law and have dedicated almost two decades to our practice. We have personally settled more than 4,000 cases and have helped a vast number of clients through the collaborative law process as well as trials. We seek efficient, effective resolutions to our clients’ issues while aiming to keep their costs as low as possible. Please call us at 905-576-6090 or reach us online to see how we can help you with your family law issue today.