The Importance Of Updating Your Estate Plan After Your Spouse Passes Away
Losing your spouse is perhaps the most difficult thing you will ever go through. You are grieving and at the same time, you also have a lot to think about. Reviewing and updating your estate plan may be the last thing on your mind. However, it is important that you review and updated your estate plan so you can ensure it is still valid and reflects your own final wishes. Below, our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer outlines the most important elements of your plan to review.
Your Will is one of the most important documents to review. There are a few changes you will likely need to make to your Will now that your spouse has passed. For example, you likely named your spouse as a beneficiary under your Will, and if so, you will need to update who you would like to be the beneficiary of your estate when you die. It is also common for spouses to nominate each other as Personal Representative under your Will, and now that your spouse has passed, you will want to nominate another individual as Personal Representative.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Releases
During your marriage you may have signed certain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) releases. One of the main purposes of this Act is to protect the privacy of personal health information by preventing it from being shared with others. You may have signed a release that allows your spouse to obtain or be given information about your health. If you have signed a HIPAA release, you should update it and indicate the person that can discuss your medical information with doctors, such as the results of medical tests.
Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney
Your health care proxy gives another person the right to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become incapacitated during your lifetime and can no longer make these decisions on your own. Alternatively, your power of attorney (“POA”) is the person who will handle your financial affairs and other important details in case you can no longer handle these matters yourself. If you originally named your spouse as POA and health care proxy, you will need to choose someone else who you trust to make these decisions on your behalf. It is important to choose someone who you trust to follow your wishes, because these individuals may be making significant decisions for you in the future.
During your marriage, you likely named your spouse as a beneficiary of your retirement, brokerage, or bank accounts, as well as insurance policies. You should review these documents and consider naming new beneficiaries.
Our Estate Planning Lawyers in St. Petersburg Can Help During this Difficult Time
When grieving the loss of your spouse, the very thought of estate planning can seem overwhelming. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, LLP, our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers can relieve some of the burden you are currently feeling and help you make informed decisions that are right for you. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.