If you’ve recently lost your spouse, then the last thing that you probably want to think about is updating your estate plan. It’s important that you do so though. While it’s ultimately important that you review all your documents, there are some that you’ll want to go through and update sooner than others.
One of the first documents that you’ll want to revisit is your will. You may find that you have “second look” privileges. If you do, then this may allow you to review your deceased husband or wife’s will once more before it’s probated.
You may be able to defer some of your inheritance to a child or divert what is slated to be paid to one of them to a different one if you have this privilege. Even if your spouse’s will doesn’t contain this clause, there may be details in your own will that you need to update now that your husband or wife has predeceased you.
Another document that you may want to review right soon after your spouse’s death is any Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) releases that you may have previously signed. You may want to update who it is that doctors are allowed to discuss your medical information including test results with other than your deceased spouse.
You may also want to update your power of attorney (POA) and health care proxy.
The individual who you appoint as your POA will be entitled to handle any financial and other important details on your behalf. Your health care proxy will give another individual a right to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make those yourself. You should choose the individual for each of these roles carefully since they’ll be able to exert significant control over you and your life.
You may also want to update your beneficiary designations on your bank, brokerage and retirement accounts and insurance policies. You may want to update your beneficiary with someone other than your spouse.
Estate planning can be overwhelming, especially as you’re grieving the loss of your spouse. An attorney can take some of the pressure off of you. Your Miami lawyer can advise you on what the implications are of making certain estate planning choices in Florida so that you can make the most informed decision as to what’s right for you.