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6 Expensive Divorce Mistakes You Can't Afford

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 3-Aug-2012

Once your Pennsylvania uncontested divorce process is under way you will need to seriously consider updating your personal and legal documents. Some of the documents you may not even think about because you thought you were done with them long ago. Now that your are divorced, you need to get the basics in place. They can include anything from your will to emergency contact numbers.

Your willis a legal document which allows for your wishes to be carried out after you have passed on. Take some time and examine how you have included your spouse and what changes you would like to make now that you are divorced. Was your spouse the executor of the estate? If so, who will you entrust the responsibility of looking after your estate now that you are divorced? Look at your assets and decide how you want them to be distributed, this is especially important if you have children. Be sure to re-examine non-financial items such as family pictures, mementos and items you would like for loved ones to remember you by.

Your health care directives (your living will and health care power of attorney) is another item you should revisit. A health care power of attorney legally dictate what should be done you becomes incapacitated and cannot make medical decisions for yourself. A living will directs what actions are to be taken in regards to life-sustaining measures and medical treatments you may or may not want if you are in a permanently unconscious state.. Have you given your spouse the power of attorney to make decisions for you should you find yourself in this situation? If so, obviously you will want to update your health care directives.

A Power of Attorney, also known as a POA, is another legal document you will want to reconsider. Most POAs are general and durable, meaning that the person you name as agent can control any of your assets until you terminate those rights by rescinding them in writing. Make sure to tell your bank and anyone else who may be relying on your POA that you have rescinded it in writing. If you have authorized for your spouse to legally act on your behalf you'll probably want to consider another person to become your agent. This is especially true in the case of persons in the military, who may have signed a POA to take care of matters while s/he was overseas. Military divorces can be difficult, but even more so because our military men and women travel so much.

Another area to pay attention to is beneficiary designations. Have you signed or designated your spouse to be a beneficiary of any accounts or policies. Include the following when you are making out your list: life insurance, health insurance, stock accounts, bank accounts, health savings accounts and retirement accounts (for example: 401K, 403b, or IRAs).

Emergency contact information is an item often overlooked by divorcing couples. Is your contact information up-to-date with your employer? Does your child(ren)'s school need new contact information? Where else do you need to update this information?

Lastly, if you have a Facebook page you may want to consider changing your status to single.

If you need assistance changing your POA or will contact Attorney James Cairns at 888.863.9115.

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