Going through a separation is always difficult, but with many life changes taking place ahead of the fresh start to come, it’s a also a critical time to ensure your estate plan is either updated or put in place to protect your hard work and assets for the benefit of your chosen loved ones.
If you don’t take control of your estate planning now, the law steps in to apply a statutory formula for distribution of your assets after you die, there is no accommodation of your personal desires and objectives.
Here are 5 reasons NOT to leave your estate plan to the law if you die or lose capacity to make your own decisions after separation:
If you are separated pending divorce, your ex may inherit all of your assets as they would still qualify as your ‘spouse’. Your ex could also still have the power to make your medical decisions for you during this time in the event you lose capacity – would you be comfortable with this?
Any enduring power of attorney you may have previously made appointing your ex could still be valid providing your ex (depending on the terms of the power) with legal authority RIGHT NOW to deal with your financial assets. This is definitely a bad idea if you are in negotiations about a property settlement as your ex could have legal authority to access your bank accounts, sell your assets or otherwise deal with all your financial matters even while you still have full capacity to do so yourself, and before a property and financial settlement is reached.
After your divorce is official, the law can automatically revoke your current will and power of attorney documents, leaving you without an estate plan of your choice.
Your ex may gain the right to manage the money and assets you left to your minor children when you die (and may re-partner with someone else to exert their influence). If this is not what you would want, the only way you get to call the shots when it comes to who manages the money and assets you leave to your children is by nominating a trusted family member or friend in your will so only they have authority to take on this position.
If you don’t have a current and updated will, the Government makes one for you. Don’t leave it to the law to make your estate plan, especially after separation – taking action immediately at this time of your life is an essential step for your peace of mind.
All information provided is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be taken as legal advice. While all care is taken to ensure information on this website is accurate and current, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or reliability of any information provided. Users of this website must make their own inquiries and must seek their own legal advice specific to their own circumstances and not act or rely on any of the information on this website.