Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends After Divorce

You’ve gotten divorced and you’re ready to move on with your life but you have a nagging feeling that you’re leaving something undone. That’s especially true if you’ve done your divorce yourself.

Well, there ARE a lot of things to keep in mind as you begin life as a single person, and while one article can’t contain all of them here’s a handy checklist of some of the more important items -

• Review and update your estate plan – if you don’t have a will then get one drawn. Ask your estate planner about a power of attorney and a living will (physician’s directive) and whether they’re right for your situation.

• Review and make changes to your beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, homeowner’s policies, IRA’s, 401k’s, etc.

• Pull a credit report on yourself just to make sure there aren’t any “surprises” and do so annually thereafter (think of it as a chore sort of like going to the dentist every year – mildly unpleasant but necessary).

• Make sure that any joint bank accounts with your former spouse have been closed or otherwise taken care of properly.

• Keep at least the last six years of your joint tax returns with you. If your former spouse will have the originals then make sure you get copies for your files.

• Change your mail if your address changes.

• Keep a written record of the days and times that your former spouse has the children.

• Read your decree very carefully – in fact, study it until you know it backwards and forwards.

• In all communications with your former spouse, especially e-mails and texts, remember to always be Brief, Factual and Polite (BFP).

• Don’t gossip about your former spouse.

And, most importantly, savor the moment and enjoy life! Good luck!

Mark Lewis

Lewis & Passons, P.C.