Clement Law

Don’t Change Your Marital Status without Updating Key Documents

By the time a divorce is final, the last thing many people want to do is to tinker with bookkeeping matters. Updating names, addresses, and beneficiaries is tedious. It is sometimes seen as unimportant; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Whether or not you are the person who initiated the divorce, it is critical that you take the time necessary to update your key documents right away.

Let’s start with the basics. You are in a new chapter of your life in which you are responsible for your financial and other matters. The only way you can meet this responsibility is by updating your marital status, address, email, passwords, and name (if applicable) everywhere you do business. Imagine these consequences:

Just as important as updating key documents is changing your beneficiary designations, particularly on your life insurance, bank and retirement accounts, and your will.  New Yorkers are lucky. New York has a law that automatically revokes property dispositions, such as in a will, as well as insurance and retirement beneficiary designations. However, the application of that law could have unintended consequences.

This is particularly true if either (1) you have not provided a secondary beneficiary in these matters or (2) you still want your ex to receive your property or serve in the designated role (ex.- executor) despite your divorce.

Moreover, what happens if you move from New York to a state that does not have such a law?

In order to protect yourself and your intended beneficiaries after your divorce, you should update:

Updating many of these documents may require you to provide a certified copy of your final divorce decree. For that reason, it is a good idea to keep several copies on hand.

At Clement Law, we provide you with experienced, effective representation in your divorce and family law matters. We guide our clients through divorce and help them achieve results that protect their family, and their family’s future, after the divorce.

Contact us or call (212) 683-9551 to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to helping you.