Your Disability
Key Points
  • If you or your spouse becomes disabled during the divorce proceedings and if you are no longer able to handle your affairs, normally a guardian will be appointed for you. It is important to make sure you have someone you trust to handle your financial affairs.

In the event you become disabled while your divorce is pending, such as through an automobile accident, stroke or heart attack, such that you are no longer capable of handling your affairs, a guardian normally must be appointed for you. First preference as guardian is normally given to your spouse unless you have designated someone else as your preferred guardian in a written document. If you do not want your estranged spouse handling your affairs, including your financial affairs as well as all other decisions with respect to your life, such as where you live, who your doctors are, and who can visit with you, you should designate in writing your preferences as to whom you wish to be your guardian in the event you become incapacitated. Most states have specific procedures for designating a guardian, so be sure to check with a qualified estate planning attorney as to the proper procedure in your state.

Suggested Reading
Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions
This book is a practical guide to evaluating assets during divorce. It explains how to determine the real value of marital property including houses, businesses, retirement plans and investments and how to negotiate a settlement that is fair to both sides.

Authors: Violet Woodhouse & Dale Fetherling

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BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS -- Following a divorce, the beneficiary designations for the following financial instruments should be amended unless the client chooses to leave everything to his/her ex-spouse: 1) Employer retirement plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), life insurance, annuities, health savings accounts; 2) Transfer on Death (TOD) investment accounts;
 3) Payable on Death (POD) bank accounts; 
4) wills
; 5) health care powers of attorney and living wills; 6) powers of attorney;
 7) revocable trusts; 8) advanced estate planning structures such as irrevocable trusts.

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