If you are thinking about divorce or have already begun the process of separation, you’ll want to work with a Memphis, Tennessee power of attorney lawyer to review your estate plan documents and make edits where needed. Your estate plan should always reflect your life changes as they arise, and divorcing from your spouse is surely one of the most significant events that could affect these documents. Chances are, your spouse is listed several times throughout your estate planning documents. Now is the time to speak with a Memphis, TN probate lawyer to remove their name, that is, unless you want to risk having them get a portion of your estate and assets after you have passed away
If something were to happen to you during the divorce, your spouse may still have some legal control over your estate and may even be entitled to receiving most of it. This is likely not what you want to happen, and may even be your worst nightmare. By hiring an experienced Memphis, TN power of attorney lawyer, you can properly edit your ex spouse’s name from important sections within your estate plan, so the chances of them getting your estate are slim-to-none.
A Legal Safety Net
Thankfully, in most states, if you established a will before the divorce, then the provisions that list your former spouse become null and void. The entire will doesn’t become revoked, but it will have to be interpreted as if your former spouse had passed away prior to you. Some states may require that the entire will is revoked, leaving the inheritance meant for beneficiaries in question. In a smaller number of states, the will stands as it is and your ex spouse may inherit everything you listed prior to the divorce. The team at Patterson Bray can inform you of the laws for your state, so you know whether this legal safety net applies to you, or not.
Medical Power of Attorney
In most states across America, if you appointed your former spouse as medical power of attorney, their role as your agent will be revoked the moment you file a divorce petition. But until you officially file that action, your ex spouse can still act as your medical power of attorney, which can be dangerous if things turned sour in your marriage.
For example, if you gave your spouse the power of attorney for medical care and you become incapacitated (unable to communicate your wishes), then your spouse would be the one to make a decision about your care and whether life-saving support should be provided. As you can see, this may cause some people to shiver in fear just imagining the hypothetical situation, but it could happen.
All in all, if you know that divorce is imminent, then you must act quickly to ensure that your spouse no longer has legal authority to exercise control over you and your assets. It is advisable to consult with a Memphis, TN power of attorney lawyer, perhaps even before filing for divorce, so you can get prepared for the legal battle to come. By working with an estate planning attorney sooner rather than later, you can protect your best interests.