Townsville, QLD – Strategic Lawyers, a prominent law firm situated in Townsville, renowned for their expertise in family law and estate planning, are highlighting the frequently disregarded aspect of divorce – its influence on wills and estate planning. The firm underscores the necessity of comprehending how a shift in marital status can considerably impact an individual’s will and estate plan.
The Consequences of Divorce on Wills
Divorce is more than just an alteration in relationship status; it’s a legal procedure that can invalidate existing wills. In Queensland, according to the Succession Act 1981, the initiation of a divorce can revoke most provisions in a will that favour the ex-spouse, including their appointment as executor.
Nonetheless, it’s vital to comprehend the distinction between separation and divorce in this context. A mere separation without a formal divorce does not modify the will. This implies that if an individual separates and does not update their will, their estranged spouse may still inherit their property and could be legally obliged to execute their will.
This distinction is frequently overlooked, leading to unintended outcomes. It’s crucial to review and update one’s will after any significant life event, including separation, to ensure that their wishes are accurately reflected in the document.
The Function of Power of Attorney in Divorce
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that permits a named individual to make financial decisions on another’s behalf. Unlike a will, an EPA is not automatically revoked upon divorce. Therefore, if an individual has appointed their ex-spouse as their attorney, and they no longer desire them to have this power, it’s crucial to revoke the EPA as soon as possible.
The role of an EPA becomes even more significant if an individual becomes unable to make decisions due to illness or incapacity. If they don’t want their ex-spouse to have this authority, it’s essential to act promptly to protect their interests.
Estate Planning Checklist Post-Divorce
Navigating through the aftermath of a divorce can be overwhelming, but it’s essential to pay attention to one’s estate planning. Here are some steps they should consider:
Update their will: Ensure that their assets are distributed according to their new circumstances. This process may involve revoking the old will and creating a new one that reflects their current wishes.
Revoke or change their EPA: If they don’t want their ex-spouse to make decisions for them, revoke the existing EPA and appoint someone else. This person could be a trusted friend, family member, or a professional advisor.
Secure their online presence: Change passwords for their online accounts to ensure their ex-spouse cannot access their records. This step is crucial to protect their digital assets and personal information.
Update their life insurance beneficiaries: Don’t rely on divorce documents to do this; explicitly state their wishes. It’s important to ensure that the benefits of their life insurance policy go to the intended recipients.
Reconsider their trustees: With changing family dynamics, they may want to appoint new trustees. This decision should be made carefully, considering the responsibilities and duties of a trustee.
Re-title joint assets: Consider changing the titles of jointly owned assets like cars and properties. This step can help avoid disputes and confusion in the future.
Review their advance care directive: Make amendments if necessary to reflect their current wishes. This document is crucial for outlining their healthcare preferences should they become unable to communicate them themselves.
Update their superannuation account: Remember, their superannuation does not form part of their estate and is not subject to the terms of their will. Therefore, it’s important to update the beneficiary nominations on their superannuation account.
The Significance of Professional Guidance
Given the complexity of these processes, it’s crucial to seek professional legal advice. Strategic Lawyers offers expert guidance to navigate these changes, ensuring that one’s estate planning aligns with their new circumstances.
The team at Strategic Lawyers can assist in understanding the legal implications of their divorce on their will and estate planning. They can provide tailored advice and assist in making the necessary changes to their legal documents.
Divorce can significantly impact one’s will and estate planning. It’s crucial to review and update their legal documents to reflect their new status. Strategic Lawyers is here to assist in navigating this complex process. Contact them today for professional assistance.
About Strategic Lawyers Townsville
Strategic Lawyers is a Townsville-based law firm renowned for their expertise in family law and estate planning. With a commitment to providing strategic legal advice, the firm prides itself on its ability to deliver optimal outcomes for its clients. The team at Strategic Lawyers is dedicated to helping clients navigate through the complexities of the legal system, providing clear, concise and practical advice. Visit their website here for more information: www.strategiclawyers.com.au or call 07 4795 1114.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Smart Herald journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.