You’re done. You are DIVORCED! It’s tempting to want to move on and not look back after you get your final judgment, but once your divorce is finalized, there may still be several things to check on before you move into your new life.
Here’s a checklist of items to help you make sure you’ve handled all your property issues:
Bank and Investment Accounts
- Open individual checking and savings accounts and be sure to close any remaining joint accounts;
- Close any joint investment brokerage accounts and reestablish in your individual name. If assets are being transferred from a joint account to a separate account, be sure the company handles them as in-kind transfers when needed to avoid any unexpected tax consequences and get appropriate tax advice before doing so.
- Review and update the beneficiary designations on all retirement and pension accounts.
- If there are IRAs or other retirement accounts to be transferred, provide the custodian with a copy of the settlement in order to get them processed.
- If a QDRO is required to split a qualified retirement account, confirm that the plan administrator has accepted it and that it has been filed with the court.
Real Estate and Mortgages
- Transfer ownership on all real estate deeds and be sure they are recorded at the appropriate county recorder office.
- Complete any refinancing or mortgage assumptions necessary.
Other Real Property (Automobiles, etc.)
- Transfer ownership and registration for any automobiles, boats, etc. and be sure they are recorded with the appropriate DMV office.
- Be sure any auto loans, etc. are refinanced as needed.
Credit Cards and Other Debts
- Open individual credit card accounts.
- Confirm any balances are paid off as agreed and then close all joint accounts.
- Monitor your credit history.
- Obtain COBRA coverage or start a new individual policy. You only have a window of 90 days after your divorce judgment to do so on the marketplace;
- Like the retirement accounts, be sure to review and update the beneficiaries listed on any life insurance or other policies;
- Update any homeowners, umbrella, auto, etc., insurance policies.
- Get a life and/or disability insurance policy on the payor of child or spousal support to protect income should the payor die. The recipient of support should be both owner and beneficiary, and should control payment of premiums.
- Review and update your will and/or trust, and be sure to designate guardians for your children if necessary.
- Update any health care proxy and power of attorney documents.
Its always helpful to have a full review with a CPA and/or investment professional to determine if any future tax planning or investment changes should be considered. Expert advice can help you begin your new life with confidence and security.
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