Do I Need to Change My Insurance Policies Post-Divorce?
The process of divorce can be very emotional and stressful. For many, any preparations for life after divorce fall by the wayside as couples focus on working through the various aspects of the divorce itself. If you are contemplating divorce, are in the throes of divorce, or are beginning life post-divorce, it is important to make sure that your insurance policies, financial documents, and other materials reflect this new stage in your life.
Update your beneficiaries
When couples marry, they automatically list their new spouse as the contact on all of their paperwork, including naming that spouse as the beneficiary of insurance and financial accounts. Once divorced, it is important to go through all of your accounts and policies and update them with your new designees. Specifically, be sure to update beneficiaries on the following:
- Life insurance policies
- Employer-sponsored 401(k) accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Bank accounts
To assign a new beneficiary, contact the insurance company, your employer, bank, or brokerage firm, and request the necessary paperwork. Complete and submit the forms as soon as possible thereafter.
Health insurance policies
If you have your own health insurance policy, you can keep that policy after divorce. However, if you are a dependent on your spouse’s employer-sponsored health plan, you may not remain on that plan once the divorce is final. Consider one of the following options:
- Pay for continued coverage through your ex-spouse’s employer-sponsored plan
- Enroll in your employer’s health insurance plan if they offer one
- Purchase a health insurance policy directly from a private health insurance company or your state’s health plan
It is best to explore these options prior to finalizing your divorce so that you maintain health insurance coverage.
Car insurance policies
Most couples have both spouses listed on one car insurance policy. Post-divorce, you and your ex-spouse will need separate policies. Contact your car insurance company, inform them of the divorce, and request that your former spouse be removed as a driver on a policy in your name.
Once your divorce is final, if one of you is keeping your home, be sure that the homeowner’s insurance policy lists only the name of the homeowner.
Revise your last will and testament
If you have a last will and testament, it should be revised to reflect your new circumstances. If you do not have a last will and testament, now is the time to prepare one. In your last will and testament, be sure to update or specify the following:
- Who you would like to inherit your property
- Name an executor to handle your estate
- Appoint a legal guardian to take care of minor children
Our Wisconsin divorce lawyers are here to help
The process of divorce can be emotionally difficult. Moving on after divorce and starting a new life can be challenging. We can help. The family law attorneys at Bandle & Zaeske LLP, have been helping Wisconsin families for more than 50 years and have a demonstrated track record of success. Located in Milwaukee, we provide family law services to clients throughout the Southeastern Wisconsin area. If you are contemplating divorce, have questions regarding your rights in a divorce, or need assistance with another family matter, contact our office. Arrange a confidential appointment with a member of our legal team today at 414-359-1424 or contact us online.