Although filing for legal separation may stop your estranged spouse from laying claim to some of your assets after you split up, there are many that they may be legally entitled to if you were to become incapacitated or pass away before your divorce is finalized. There are some estate planning steps that you can take the minute you split up to minimize the control that they have over you and your assets though.
One of the first things that you may want to do after you file for divorce in Michigan is to update your durable power of attorney (POA). Your current POA likely reflects your intention to allow your spouse to gain full access to your assets and bank account. It’s time to put someone else in charge in the event of an emergency. (In addition to drafting a new POA, you’ll want to put your soon-to-be-ex on notice that the former POA is being revoked.)
If you have a health care proxy, then you’ll also want to update the name of the person authorized to call the shots. Whoever you choose should be someone who lives close to Trenton and who is capable of making life and death decisions situations that are aligned with your interests. They’ll be called upon to make those decisions, naturally, only if you become unconscious or otherwise unable to make your own choices.
There are other things that you may have to wait to change. For example, it may not be possible to change your will or update a trust until the divorce is final. If you’re uncertain, check with your attorney.
While some marriages end amicably, many former spouses are left with pent-up animosity toward each other because of how property division, child custody and support payments were handled. When it comes to divorce and preserving your assets for the future, it can be helpful to have an estate planning and probate attorney on your side who also has 25 years experience in handling family law matters as well.