What happens if someone is injured, incapacitated, or even dies while a divorce is pending?
Unfortunately, these worst-case scenarios can and do occur. At Levine & Levine, we encourage our clients to consider these questions from the initiation of divorce proceedings to ensure that the clients and their families are protected.
Per Michigan law, once someone initiates a divorce action, then, your spouse can no longer serve as your Designated Patient Advocate, or Power of Attorney. However, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is still entitled to inherit from your estate. If a client has an estate plan in place, it is very important to name an alternate designated patient advocate and alternate agent under the durable power of attorney before the divorce is final and to consider whether any other changes should be made to a will or trust while a divorce is pending. If a client does not have an estate plan, then at a minimum, a client should consider naming a designated patient advocate and an agent under the durable power of attorney. Therefore, in the case of incapacitation or injury, there is no question for medical care providers and financial services of who is in charge of the incapacitated person.
At Levine & Levine, we have family law and estate planning attorneys that work side-by-side to make sure that all our clients’ questions concerning the interplay of divorce and estate planning are answered.