Estate plans should be reviewed periodically to see if they should be updated. For Pennsylvania residents who get a divorce, it is important that they review these documents and make the necessary modifications that reflect the changes in their life.
The first legal document that may need to be revised is the healthcare proxy. Individuals who do not want their future ex-spouse to be making these types of decisions should have their name removed from the document. It will also be necessary to revise any financial powers of attorney that are on file. Individuals who are unable to locate their copy may be able to request a copy from the attorney who draft the form. If the spouse was provided a durable power of attorney, it is particularly important that power of attorney be revoked if the divorce is contentious or is showing signs that it may be. A new power of attorney should be executed, and the current spouse should be notified of the change, ideally through an attorney.
Another important estate planning task to perform is determining which assets should be left to the spouse. The majority of states do not allow individuals to completely disinherit their spouse. It may be advisable for individuals to bequeath to their spouse just what they are legally entitled to according to state law.
A family law attorney may advise clients about which legal strategies should be pursued to obtain favorable settlement terms regarding property division, spousal support and other divorce legal issues. The attorney may want to take the lead in settlement negotiations if the divorcing couple is less than amicable.