You think your divorce was rough? Check out the film “War of the Roses.” The nastiest divorce ever put on film.
It’s no secret the percentage of cops who get divorced is high. If you are someone thinking about getting divorce or getting remarried, here’s some tips to protect yourself and your children going forward.
On your pension, insurance, and other financial and investment documents you probably named your-soon-to-be ex as the beneficiary in the event of your death. If you do not want that to happen, contact all of these policies and accounts and find out how to change the beneficiary listing. DO THIS BEFORE YOU GET DIVORCED. In some states, you cannot update your beneficiary without the spouse’s consent once you file for divorce until the divorce is final. It’s also a good idea to change the person you want to make life and death decisions in case of a medical problem (health care) and update the person you have given your “financial powers of attorney” as well.
Wills and living trusts are not a big problem. If you get divorced most states disqualify an ex-spouse from being a beneficiary. Ask your divorce lawyer about this. Also check on issues with irrevocable trusts should you have one, and jointly held property. Your divorce will not automatically update jointly held property so check it out with an expert.
Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. If you divorce and remarry, it’s a good idea to get a prenuptial agreement to make it clear who will receive which assets if you die before the spouse. This is what can happen if you don’t do this: You are married for 25 years. You have three kids. You die. Your wife remarries without a prenup. Ten years later she dies. Her husband could inherit all of the assets you and she accumulated together depending on what the state’s laws are concerning spousal minimum share laws. You can also name your children from your first marriage as beneficiaries on some of your bank accounts, insurance policies and other assets. Chances are good that without a legal agreement your children might get none of the assets accumulated during your 25 years of marriage to your first wife. Another reason to go see a lawyer. Better yet – don’t get married again.