When you are going through a gray divorce, it is important to consider your estate plan and the variety of documents that you will need to modify, revise, or amend. For older married couples, there are many different aspects of an estate plan that are premised on being married and having a spouse who can be a decision-maker and who will inherit property. Our Michigan divorce lawyers can provide you with more information about the various ways in which a gray divorce — meaning a divorce involving older adults — will affect your estate plan and will require changes to your estate plan.
Changes to Your Will
Most parties will name their spouse in their will, and most spouses use the same estate planning attorney to make a will. After a gray divorce, it is unlikely that you will still want your spouse to inherit any of your property. Furthermore, some of the assets that you may have identified in your will could be distributed to the other spouse through property division in your divorce. As such, changing your will may be a necessity. There are a couple of different ways to change a will in Michigan, including making a new will or adding a codicil that amends certain aspects of the will. After a gray divorce, it is common to make a new will and to revoke all prior wills. Your estate planning lawyer can help with this. Before you meet with an estate planning lawyer, you should speak with your divorce attorney about the ways property division may be critical to consider when revising your estate plan.
You have likely named your spouse as a beneficiary on various insurance policies, pensions, and other assets. After a gray divorce, you will most likely want to change the beneficiary listed.
Advance directives are health care documents that clarify who can make decisions for you in terms of your health care if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself, and what type of lifesaving treatment you do (or do not) want. Generally speaking, as the University of Michigan Health explains, advance directives in Michigan include a durable power of attorney for health care and a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. After a gray divorce, you will likely be able to leave the DNR in place if you have one, but you will likely want to amend your durable power of attorney for health care. You most likely named your spouse as the person who can make decisions for you through this document, and after your divorce, you will most likely want to name a trusted friend or family member rather than an ex-spouse.
Trusts and More
There are many other assets that you will want to consider in revising your estate plan after a gray divorce, including trusts that may name your spouse as a beneficiary, or certain accounts that you have entitled in your own name and your spouse’s name. These assets and any other property should be revisited as part of your estate planning following your gray divorce.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Michigan
One of our experienced Michigan divorce attorneys can speak with you today about gray divorce and estate planning. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more.