As your marriage ends and your new life begins, there are several steps you should take to tie up the loose ends of your former life. Failing to deal with these loose ends won’t make things any easier later, and can lead to unintended consequences.
Update your W-4
Employers rely on the information you provide them in your W-4 form to determine how much income tax to withhold. Once your marital status, and possibly your child custody status has changed, make certain to change your W-4 to reflect these changes. Failure to do so may result in your employer withholding too much, or not enough in taxes. This could lead to unpleasant consequences later.
Talk to Your Medical Clinic
Make certain to contact medical care providers to update your Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) forms. If you’ve seen a dentist, doctor, or other medical professional any time in the past several years, you probably signed a HIPAA form which authorized the release of your medical information to your spouse. Now that you are no longer married, you may wish to update this consent to reflect another person as your emergency contact.
Check Your Designated Beneficiaries
There are some assets which are not passed on through a will, but rather have a “pay on death” (POD) provision. These assets may include:
- Savings accounts
- Checking accounts
- Money market accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Brokerage accounts
Contact your financial institutions to determine who is currently listed on each account. Update each of these accounts in accordance with your current wishes.
Update Your Last Will and Testament
Updating your last will and testament takes very little time. However, doing so will clearly indicate who you wish to inherit your property. A will updated after the divorce leaves little doubt of your intentions. This will reduce the likelihood of your intended heirs disputing the will after your death.
Review Your Power of Attorney Documents
Whether you have a power of attorney regarding your health care decisions, your financial affairs, or both, it is a good idea to review your designated power of attorney documents. If you have previously identified your now ex spouse, and wish them to continue with these duties, an update of the documents, indicating your ongoing desires, takes away any doubts about your intentions. If you wish to identify a new person to make these important decisions, updating your power of attorney documents is the best way to ensure your true wishes are respected.
If you are considering a divorce, contact The Carolan Family Law Firm at 305-358-2330. Our Miami attorneys practice exclusively in family and divorce law. As such, we have the experience you need to take on even the most complex divorce case. Whether you are seeking to work with your spouse to legalize the end of your marriage or anticipate a litigation intense separation, we can put our knowledge and experience to work for you. Call today to discuss your situation. We look forward to working with you.
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