It goes without saying that a divorce can be an incredibly stressful time. Seeming endless documents have to be organized, copied and understood. Because of the emotions involved in the split, in can be tempting to get everything taken care of as quickly as possible and to move on with your life without looking back. However, Maryland residents may find themselves in some legal grey area if specific documents aren’t adjusted immediately after the divorce.
All legal and financial documents should be considered and corrected as soon as possible to reflect a new marriage status. This may mean officially changing your name and address right after the divorce is finalized. It may also mean considering different people to designate as your power of attorney.
Possibly the most important document to change immediately is your will. You may want to alter the people that will be inheriting parts of your estate. Also, your will could be voided when you get a divorce, so it’s imperative to get another will in place after the breakup.
It’s also important to change any documents that list your ex as a beneficiary. These can be life insurance policies, bank accounts, annuities and retirement plans. These designations will often take precedence over the beneficiaries listed in your will, so it’s important to make sure they are all correct. Deeds, titles, credit cards, passports, utility accounts, IRS records and Social Security benefits are all important to examine as well.
It is, of course, a lot of work to get all of these documents taken care of. However, it’s best to make sure all of your ducks are in a row in order to avoid future financial and legal confusion. For example, one case that went all the way to the Supreme Court involved a Virginia man who never changed the beneficiary name on his life insurance policy. When he passed away, all of his benefits went to his first wife rather than the woman he had been married more recently too for six years. Citizens of Maryland should prevent a situation like this by being vigilant and checking all documents.
forbes.com, “Divorcing Women: Don’t Forget To Update These Key Documents” Jeff Landers, Dec. 04, 2013