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North Dakotans need to amend their wills after a divorce

After going through a divorce, it's perfectly understandable that you've had your share of attorneys and legal documents. However, it's essential that you take the time to update your will to reflect your new situation. If you don't have a will, this is the time to draft one, particularly if you are now a single parent.

If you had a will already, likely your spouse was your primary beneficiary. Now that you are divorced, do you still want everything to go to him or her? Perhaps you want to make another family member the beneficiary of your assets. The sooner you do that, the better.

You may choose to revoke your will and other documents such as powers of attorney and trusts and draft new ones, or you may amend your existing documents. Your attorney can advise you on the best course of action based on your individual situation and wishes. The important thing is to keep these documents current.

If you have minor children, their care and support will be an important consideration. If there is any reason why your ex should not take care of them if you are no longer around, that needs to be spelled out in the will. Even if you want them to be cared for by your ex, an alternate guardian should be designated.

For most married people, their spouse is the person they have designated to make healthcare or end-of-life decisions for them if they are unable to do so. If you want to give that authority to another family member or someone else after a divorce, it's essential that this be stipulated.

After you have created a new will, be sure to destroy any legal documents that are no longer in force. They can cause confusion for family members and create unnecessary disputes. Remember that wills, trusts and POAs often need to change as our lives do.

It's essential that whenever a person divorces, remarries, has additional children or loses family members that they amend these documents as well as beneficiary designations for retirement accounts to reflect post-divorce changes. Your North Dakota attorney can help you ensure that all of your legal documents remain current so that your wishes are codified.

Source: FindLaw, "Changing Your Will After a Divorce" Deanne Katz, Oct. 11, 2014

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