Being a mom is the hardest job you’ll ever do. And sometimes moms need help. In traditional relationships when males die or divorce, it is the widows and ex-spouses who oftentimes need professional help. Unfortunately, it is typically after a life-changing event occurs.
But if divorce is imminent, finding a qualified estate planning attorney and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, ideally, before the process begins is worth its weight in gold.
At Hefren-Tillotson, our Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), will assist you and your attorney with understanding how the financial decisions you make today will impact your financial future. Our CDFA is certified through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, which is the premier national organization dedicated to financial professionals in the divorce arena.
It is important to point out that a CDFA does not replace your attorney, instead works as part of the divorce team to ensure you make the right financial decisions today to achieve your financial goals post-divorce.
In addition to their stellar qualifications, you’ll want to work with someone – regardless of gender – with whom you can ask the silliest of questions and never be judged. Work with someone you can trust and relate to. Estate planning guidance is mainly to ensure that your assets are titled correctly and distributed according to your wishes.
Carefully plan for future income
Living on a single income is challenging. But if health care and retirement savings are already in place and working for you and your family, you’re that much farther ahead.
A recent survey conducted by Worthy showed that 54% of women made a major career change following divorce, which led to increased income, career advancement and additional educational opportunities, like learning more about investing.
With the intention of passing your accumulated assets to those you love before and after you die, having a will is one way to do it. Your attorney will draw it up for you and it will be drafted properly and witnessed correctly to avoid probate, and to certify that your heirs will be taken care of as you intended.
If you previously held a will, he or she will revoke it for you.
Naming a trustee
If a trust is the better way to go, your attorney can do that for you. You’ll be instructed to choose a dependable family member or friend, whom you trust implicitly, to be named as trustee. Basically, he or she will be entrusted to watch over as well as invest the assets, among other duties spelled out in the trust.
Power of Attorney and a living will
After an emotional disruption like divorce, what happens if you become sick or disabled and can no longer handle financial matters? Someone with whom you have complete trust and confidence will need to be chosen to handle your finances.
Your attorney can draw up a power of attorney to spell out what that individual, named by you and agreed to by him or her, will do if that unfortunate event occurs – as it also does for a named guardian for your children as well.
If you previously held a power of attorney, your attorney will revoke it for you.
Along the same lines, who will make critical medical decisions – including end-of-life decisions – when you cannot? A living will, advance directive for health care, or medical proxy also spells out the duties and responsibilities of a named individual, chosen by you and agreed to by him or her, to make these tough decisions for you.
If you previously held a living will, your attorney will revoke it for you.