Tip of the week: a post-divorce checklist
In the emotional upheaval of a divorce, it’s easy to lose track of practical issues. The following checklist from the professionals at HD Vest Financial Services covers the most important steps people need to take once the split is final:
1. Run a new credit report: This lets the newly single zero-base their standing with prospective lenders. It often takes several weeks for the credit bureaus to bring the information they have on file up to date, however. If time is of the essence, it may be possible to accelerate the process by furnishing any information they would otherwise have to chase down.
2. Review beneficiaries: This step is critical. Many people list their spouse as their primary beneficiary, and this, of course, could cause problems once a divorce is finalized. Presumably the divorced person doesn’t intend to have their assets to go to their former spouse, but that can’t be taken for granted. Unless the divorce settlement specifies who the beneficiary of the accounts must be, people need to review and, if necessary, change the beneficiary on life insurance policies, retirement plans, IRAs, transfer on death accounts, annuities, and any other account with a listed beneficiary.
3. Review wills and trusts: Following a divorce, it’s important to review any drafted wills or trusts. Once a divorce is finalized, unless something is specified in the divorce decree, most people want to remove their ex-spouse from all aspects of their wills and their trusts. A review of the trustees of an established trust should also be completed as it may be uncomfortable to have ex-in-laws listed in trusts, or as the listed care provider for any young children should the parent pass away.
4. Establish a trust for young children: If the newly divorced person hasn’t already established a trust for minor children, it might be appropriate for them to do so. The new trust should be named as the beneficiary to all financial accounts. Since minors cannot control their own assets, you should list a trustee who can manage their inherited funds until they come of age. If a trust is not created and a trustee is not listed, it is possible that an ex-spouse may be put in charge of your client’s minor’s assets.
5. Create a new budget, or review the old one: Once the divorce is finalized, it is a good idea to get a handle on the new cash flow expectations.
HD Vest Financial Services® is the holding company for the group of companies providing financial services under the HD Vest name.
Securities offered through HD Vest Investment ServicesSM, Member SIPC, Advisory services offered through HD Vest Advisory ServicesSM, 6333 N. State Highway 161, Fourth Floor, Irving, TX 75038, 972-870-6000.