Women And Money: 4 Strategies For The Divorced Woman

For most women divorce is one of the most stressful and unpleasant experiences in life. Emotions run high. Solutions are scarce. Money is tight. Legal bills are exorbitant. It is not the best time to make well thought out decisions.

  1. Understand the terms of your divorce agreement, what your ex-husband is obligated to pay for alimony and child support and whether or not his obligation to pay is ordered to be backed up by a life insurance policy on his life.
  2. If the divorce agreement is backed up by a life insurance policy, check each year to make sure the premiums are paid and that the policy remains in force.
  3. Revise your estate planning documents in light of your divorce to reflect the appropriate parties to serve as attorney under your power of attorney, agent under your health care proxy, executor under your will and trustee under any trust.
  4. Make sure your ex-husband is not still the beneficiary of your estate plan and revise the primary and secondary beneficiaries of your life insurance, IRA, annuities, retirement planning assets, etc. to remove your ex-husband from those designations.

Jill, a woman of 54, made an appointment to come see me with her husband, Brian, to discuss their estate plan. As a beginning part of the process I send out a questionnaire and ask potential new clients to pull together their financial information and to bring that information, along with copies of their current estate planning documents, to the initial meeting. Jill and Brian came in and had an in-depth two hour session.

Five minutes after leaving my office Jill called me from her cell phone in the lobby and told me they would not be proceeding. She set up the appointment to obtain a complete picture of their finances before commencing a divorce action, and she figured that starting the estate planning process was cheaper than years of document production and discovery.

I do not recommend Jill’s course of action. It underscores, in fact, how important it is to understand what your finances are and how your estate planning works long before the marriage falls apart.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com

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