Divorced? Don’t Forget to Update Documents!

After a divorce is final, many people still have a lot of work to do before they can move forward into the next phases of their lives. Georgia residents need to make sure that they update several key documents after they divorce to reflect their change in marital status, otherwise they could be setting themselves up for large problems in the future.

To begin, many married couples make future plans together after they marry, and they often leave all or most of their assets to their spouses in their wills. After a couple divorces, it is crucial that the spouses update their wills so that their ex-spouses are no longer beneficiaries. Additionally, people should choose new beneficiaries for assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, transfer on death bank accounts and annuities. Changing beneficiary designations in a will does not control the beneficiary designation on these assets, so people need to update these assets separately.

Sometimes, in drafting of a will, many Georgia residents will also draft a document called an Advance Directive for Healthcare, which outlines people’s wishes for medical care in the event that they become incapacitated, as well as nominate others to make decisions about medical care if they are unable to make decisions themselves. Many who have an Advance Directive for Healthcare opt to have their spouses act as medical care decision-makers, so it is important for people to review these documents after divorce – naming a different person decision-making authority in medical emergencies.

Third, divorced spouses should immediately remove their ex-spouses from any financial account records, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit cards. Additionally, people should report any name changes that may have resulted from the divorce.

And, finally, as part of the property division accompanying divorce, many people find themselves needing to transfer titles for real estate and personal property such as automobiles and boats. People should make sure that deeds for real estate are executed and recorded properly and that the new deeds reflect any name changes that occurred. It is particularly important for people who are moving out of the marital homes to ensure that their names are removed from mortgage documents so that they are no longer liable for mortgage payments.

There are a lot of details with which to concern oneself during and immediately after divorce. Having the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney can help make the process go more smoothly and reduce the stress involved. If you have questions about divorce, talk to an experienced Georgia divorce attorney who can advise you how to proceed.

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