Separation and Divorce do not revoke pre-existing Wills and Powers of Attorney. The change in your circumstances after separating means that in every case you need to revise your estate planning documents. It is also essential that you review the beneficiaries of your superannuation and life insurance policies.
In order to avoid unwanted consequences there are some steps that a separated spouse can put in place including:
Avoiding delay in attending to a Family Law property settlement.
Preparing a new Will appointing someone other than your estranged spouse as the Executor and beneficiary.
Preparing a new Appointment of Enduring Guardian to ensure that your estranged spouse will no longer be able to make decisions about your medical care and treatment in the event that you lose the capacity to do so yourself, including life support options.
Preparing a new Power of Attorney appointing someone other than your estranged spouse to manage your financial affairs if you lose the capacity to attend to them for yourself.
If you already have an Appointment of Enduring Guardian and/or Power of Attorney in place that appoints your estranged spouse, you should take steps to have each of those documents revoked following the separation.
Having some simple documentation prepared and registered to change the way in which the ownership of real estate is held from that of joint tenants to tenants in common. This does not need the signature of the estranged spouse and will prevent them from automatically receiving the whole of the real estate if the other party dies before a property settlement is reached.
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