From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: Divorce and Updating Your Living Will
Most Recently Updated August 9, 2018.
“I gave my wife my Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney. She then filed for divorce in Montgomery County, PA. During our divorce proceedings, does my wife still have the power to pull my plug?”
Divorce and Updating Your Living Will.
Medical Power of Attorney and divorce; a bad combination. In most jurisdictions, if you are unresponsive in a hospital without a Medical Power of Attorney or a Living Will, your spouse makes your medical decisions. Your spouse maintains this power even if you have filed for divorce. If the divorce isn’t final, your spouse is still your spouse. If you are in a divorce, do you want your spouse making your medical decisions?
Medical Power of Attorney and Divorce: Your Soon-To-Be-Ex May Have the Power to Pull Your Plug!
Most separating couples do not want the other spouse to possess medical powers. Therefore, every person involved in a divorce should immediately consult with an Estate Planning lawyer. It is time to execute a new Medical Power of Attorney. It might be painful, but it is time to shift these duties to another person. A good Estate Planning attorney can help sort through the candidates. Not everyone is a good fit for making decisions in a hospital. Plus, the person you select may have to deal with your ex, who may attempt to gain control over your medical decisions.
Even while married, you are allowed to name anyone over 18 as Surrogate. You are not required to name your spouse. You should pick someone who will carry out your wishes and not let their bias cloud the decision. But, if you don’t select anyone, your spouse is given the power by default. Further, if you have an old Medical Power of Attorney and do not update it, your spouse still has the authority.
For more information, read my website’s FAQs About Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.
Divorce Means it is Time for a New Estate Plan.
While meeting with your Estate Planning attorney, you should also address a new Financial Power of Attorney and a Will. Also, review your life insurance, annuity, pension and IRA designations. Have you still named your soon-to-be-ex? Don’t overlook anything; let your estate planning attorney review your plan. You have enough to worry about, let us help!
For more information, read my Article, “Estate Planning and Divorce: Everything You Need To Know.”
More Planning Questions?
Divorce and Updating Your Living Will is only a piece of the Estate Planning process. By all means, if you want to learn more, please read my more detailed article, Estate Planning Everything You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: Divorce and Updating Your Living Will
I hope that this article was helpful in explaining Divorce and Updating Your Living Will. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website so you can learn more. Therefore, please contact me and let me know how I did. Certainly, your comments and questions are welcome!
Let our Estate Planning lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. To begin with, call to speak to one of our experienced estate planning lawyers. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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