Consider the case of a woman in Tennessee, whose marriage is coming to a premature end. There is no doubt that she is going through considerable difficulty and stress while taking care of the divorce proceedings, which is perhaps exacerbated by complex issues like property division. While tackling all the financial considerations, including differentiating between an equitable division of assets, distinguishing between marital and non-marital property and taking into account the different bank accounts and retirement accounts, valuation of assets can prove to be a rather tiring experience. Nonetheless, it is an essential one to ensure the divorcing couple’s future financial stability.
That is why even seemingly small details such as updating all legal and financial documents, designating new beneficiaries and other details can play a pivotal role in ensuring the appropriate division of all property obtained during the marriage.
Some of the key documents that a divorced individual may wish to keep in mind includes revision of important documents like a will, medical directives, powers of attorney, credit cards, insurance policies, a driver’s license, passport, records of employers and IRS, social security card, utility bills, messenger arrangements, children’s school records and emergency contact lists.
Similarly, synchronizing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order with the person’s bank accounts and pension plans, executing deeds and titles that may be required for transfer of property and other tasks are also of the utmost importance.
While these tasks may be taxing, unambiguous property division can prevent the possibility of the other ex-spouse claiming subsequent benefits that rightly belong to others simply because one spouse has neglected to update the necessary financial records during post-divorce property division.
That is exactly what happened in a recent U.S. Supreme Court, which awarded a dead man’s ex-wife federal life insurance benefits even though the man had divorced the woman ten years earlier and had even gotten re-married. Because the man had not updated the benefits, the ex-wife rather than the wife received the money.
It may, therefore, be feasible for a divorcing Tennessee couple to seek experienced legal assistance, along with the expertise of forensic accountants, to ensure exhaustive identification of all personal and business assets and shared debts.
Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women: Don’t Forget To Update These Key Documents,” Jeff Landers, Dec. 4, 2013