If you’re recently divorced, you’ll need to change most of your legal documents. While paperwork is likely the last thing on your mind, it will avoid frustrating situations down the road. Here are eight legal documents you should change as soon as possible after your divorce papers are signed:
1. Last Will and Testament
Most married couples leave their estates to each other and their children. Updating your will is inexpensive, fast, and easy compared to writing a new one, and you can remove an existing beneficiary and change the executor in the blink of an eye.
2. Powers of Attorney
Besides updating your will, you’ll also need to update your living will to give power of attorney to somebody other than your ex-spouse. If you’re incapacitated for any reason, whoever has medical power of attorney will be able to make healthcare decisions for you, which can have life-changing consequences.
You’ll need to go through all of your financial accounts and change your beneficiaries. While you’ve likely already changed your bank accounts, you’ll still need to change your investment and retirement accounts. If you plan on changing your name after a divorce, update your accounts with your new personal information.
4. Property Titles
You’ve probably already settled on who owns what, but you still need to finish updating legal documents like car and house titles to prove ownership. Whether you’re moving or staying, you’ll need your ex-spouse to sign the documents to relinquish ownership.
5. Social Security and ID Cards
If you’ve finished changing your name after a divorce, it’s time to contact the Social Security Administration to update your government records. Failure to do so could make it more difficult to take out future lines of credit or receive benefits after you retire. You’ll also need to update your driver’s license and other ID cards to reflect your new personal information.
6. HIPPA Forms
HIPPA forms authorize the release of your medical information to select individuals, and if you received medical treatment while married, you likely designated your ex-spouse as your contact. You’ll need to contact each hospital and medical practice individually to change every HIPPA form you’ve ever signed.
7. Medical Authorization and Treatment Forms
These forms allow doctors to provide medical treatment to your underage children if they’re not accompanied by you or another legal guardian. You’ll want to update them to make sure babysitters, teachers, and other caretakers have the legal authority to seek medical treatment if necessary.
8. Miscellaneous Accounts
After you finish updating legal documents, you’ll want to change your utility, television, Internet, and other personal accounts to give yourself sole ownership, and if you’re moving out, you won’t want to pay your ex-spouse’s bills. Most of these accounts can be changed quickly with minimal paperwork.
Updating legal documents should only take a month or two after completing your divorce. This simple step will make your life much easier. The fewer loose ends you leave, the fewer headaches you’ll need to deal with in the future.