At Elise Buie Family Law Group we want to ensure that you are protecting yourself during the divorce process. During divorce, many people worry about their children and their finances. However, many people fail to prepare for their illness or death before the divorce is finalized.
There are 4 questions that everyone going through a divorce should be considering, but rarely do:
- “What happens if I die before my divorce is final?”
- How can I protect my children?
- How can I protect myself?
- “How can I make sure that my share of the property goes to the people that I want it to go to, rather than my future ex-spouse?”
Illness or Incapacity During Divorce
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of advance planning. Most people do not realize that if they are unable to make their own health care and/or financial decisions because of illness or incapacity, state law dictates that your future ex-spouse has the authority to decide on your behalf. In Washington, your future ex-spouse has priority over your parents, siblings, and even your adult children. So if you become ill, your medical team will turn to your future ex-spouse to decide all aspects of your medical treatment, including but not limited to the type of treatment you will receive or the extent of life-saving measures that should/should not be provided. Despite what your other members of your family wish, your future ex-spouse has sole decision-making authority until your divorce is finalized.
You can prevent this by executing or updating your Durable Power of Attorney documents now. In Washington, any person you nominate in your Durable Power of Attorney has priority. So, if you feel strongly that you do not wish your future ex-spouse stepping in and making important decisions for you, the simple process of preparing your During Power of Attorney will legally prevent this.
We believe this is important and have chosen to included the preparation of your Health Care and Financial Durable Power of Attorney in our representation process. We believe it is worthwhile to immediately prepare your Power of Attorney documents, even if it is temporary. Doing so immediately upon separation or filing for divorce will allow you to maintain control and allow you to determine who should make important decisions for you in the event you become ill or incapacitated.
We also believe it is important for you to have a Health Care Directive which sets forth your wishes in the case you are diagnosed with a terminal illness during the divorce.