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Changing Your Beneficiaries after Divorce

 Posted on February 25, 2015 in Divorce

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, insurance policies,Are you contemplating or going through a divorce and wondering who will be named your beneficiary after your divorce? Many divorcees neglect to update important documents before or after their divorce and leave their soon-to-be or ex-spouse on as the beneficiary. If something happens to you, your spouse could still be the one making decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

What Documents Should You Update?

Thinking about if something were to happen to you is never a comforting thought, but planning for it before or after a divorce is something every divorcee should think about when it comes to changing the beneficiaries on important legal documentation. Some documents you should consider updating before or after a divorce is final are:

  • Bank accounts;
  • Titles or deeds;
  • Your will;
  • Medical directives;
  • Beneficiary designations; and
  • Power of Attorney.

Having these documents still jointly in your ex- or soon to be ex-spouse's name can also affect filing for taxes and, if you are still going through divorce proceedings, asset division.

When To Change Them

If you are still considering divorce, and have not filed yet, you may want to change your beneficiaries before filing. In the event something happens, if you are going through a divorce, your spouse will still have the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you do not have documentation stating someone else has the right to make those decisions. This can also affect your children, finances, and assets if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You will want to name beneficiaries that will have your best interest in mind. After divorce proceedings begin, the ability to change these may not be allowed.

If you or your spouse has already filed for divorce, you may be able to negotiate during the proceedings who is entitled to certain assets, whose name will be on accounts or titles, and if you have children, who will be named beneficiary or guardian of them in the event that something happens to you or your spouse. You will still have sole decision over your will, medical directives and power of attorney, and should change those documents.

Deciding when to change who will be your beneficiary to make health and financial decisions can be unclear. Speaking with a DuPage County divorce attorney about when, and if, you can change your beneficiary can help you understand the process. Contact the law offices of Stock, Carlson, Flynn and McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to speak to an attorney.

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