Estate Planning: Headed for Divorce

The time between a separation and divorce is tricky from an estate-planning perspective. By law, spouses are entitled to inherit a minimum portion of each other’s assets, which is one-third in Arkansas. Unless they waive that right in a prenuptial agreement, it continues until the divorce is finalized. Some divorces are quick and uncontested. Some divorces can last for years and are hotly contested. You should revise your estate planning documents upon separation to protect your assets.

You can name other beneficiaries to receive your assets upon your death and disinherit your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If something does happen to you, then your ex-spouse will have to come force his or her share to be distributed to them. You also should consider appointing someone other than your spouse as your agent in your Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney. If you lost capacity for some reason, e.g. in the hospital due to a car wreck, your Power of Attorney could give your spouse the right to give himself or herself your assets.

You may also want to consider changing any payable on death (POD) beneficiaries on your bank or investment accounts, as well as life insurance policies.