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Divorce is a fact of life. But how does a marital split affect any estate planning that has already taken place? Arkansas residents who are in this situation need to realize that their estate plans should reflect any life changes that take place and that includes divorce. An estate plan should include things like who would make health care decisions in case a person can’t do so for him or herself, and that person is a spouse in many instances. So, unless someone wants his or her former spouse to make those kinds of judgments, these things have to be rectified in any formal documents.

If a spouse is a power of attorney, that should be changed as well. A durable power of attorney gives a spouse access to accounts and assets even when the other partner is mentally capable. That may be concerning, especially if the split is accompanied by hard feelings. A power of attorney is probably one of the first changes that should be made.

Wills must also be updated to reflect marital status. If a former spouse is named as executor, that should be changed. A decision has to be made as well whether or not to leave anything to a former spouse. Any trusts should also be amended and if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreements exists, it should be reviewed as soon as possible.

Safeguarding assets is one of the reasons for estate planning. When divorce is imminent, an Arkansas estate planning attorney can offer guidance to a client who is divorcing as to what changes may be necessary to any existing planning documents. A lawyer is in a position to make those changes as soon as possible.