If you are like many people who experience the breakdown of a marriage in California, your estate plan may not be at the top of your list at the moment. It is easy to get caught up in making decisions about your home, retirement accounts, time with your children and other things. This is understandable and those things are all extremely important. However, it is important to also focus on your estate plans at this time.

As explained by Forbes, there will be some elements of your estate plan that you cannot fully address until your divorce is finalized. This is because you will not know what assets or debts you have until this time. However, there are two essential components of your plan worth updating as soon as you and your spouse separate. Both will provide you with peace of mind and protection in the event that an emergency renders you unable to make decisions for your health or finances, even temporarily.

One of the documents to update is your advanced health care directive. This would allow someone to make medical decisions for you if needed. The other document to update is your durable power of attorney. This would give someone other than your estranged spouse the ability to manage your finances on your behalf.

If you would like to learn more about the importance of addressing your power of attorney, advanced health care directive and other documents while you are getting divorced, please feel free to visit the divorcing spouse’s protection page of our California estate planning website.