Jeff Landers, a contributor to Forbes.com, posted a great blog titled "Divorcing Women: Don't Forget to Update These Key Documents". However, we think it is a great idea for all parties to a divorce to stop and think about what steps are necessary to take after the divorce is finalized.
In his article, he mentions the usual suspects - the will, beneficiary designations, advance healthcare directives, and other accounts such as Social Security. Surely you want to double-check who you're leaving property to, should life take an unexpected turn. Another item that many divorced people delay resolving relates to retirement accounts - have your Qualified Domestic Relations Orders been drafted, pursuant to the terms of the Judgment? This highly important step ensures that each party gets their ordered share of any retirement account(s) in which the community has an interest.
Also, we point out that the list regarding the accounts acts as an important reminder for anyone who changed their name as a result of marriage (these days, it's not just women that change their names sometimes; some men have been known to change their name, or the parties join together to create a completely new/different name or a hyphenated name). Or, if you have joint bank accounts, you will want to make sure that only one party's name remains on the account, or that it is closed.
To that list we add the importance of ensuring continuing health care coverage. If you currently cover your spouse's health care through your employer, we note that it is important to let your HR department know of the divorce, so that the plan can send the ex-spouse information regarding COBRA coverage. The law requires that the "qualified beneficiary" (can be the employee or the ex-spouse) notify the plan administrator within 60 days after divorce. Read more about COBRA coverage and your responsibilities at the Department of Labor's website.
Still confused, or believe that something was left undone in your Judgment? Contact us today at 925-228-0800 to ask how we can help.