tied up loose ends

Post-Divorce Checklist

Here are some loose ends that typically need to be tied up after divorce.


Make sure all deeds transferring real property to the sole ownership of either party are recorded at the local Registry of Deeds.


If your separation agreement calls for your spouse to refinance an existing mortgage in their own name, make sure that is done so you are not still liable for that debt (if you do not want to ask your spouse, you can check the register of deeds online in your county for a cancellation of the deed of trust by the original mortgagor).


Make sure to change the beneficiary on your life insurance or retirement accounts, unless your separation agreement provides otherwise. Even after divorce, if your ex-spouse is named the beneficiary on these policies, they will receive the proceeds after your death.

Health Insurance

If you are covered by your spouse’s health insurance, make sure to get new insurance before the divorce is final, as you cannot be covered by your ex-spouse’s insurance once the marriage has ended.

Name Change

If your name has changed, notify the Social Security Administration, and get a new driver’s license and passport. You will need to change the name on all your bank accounts and credit cards as well.

Estate Planning

Review your estate plan with an estate planning attorney to determine what, if any changes need to be made now that your former spouse is no longer a beneficiary. If you had executed a Durable Power of Attorney in favor of your former spouse, you will need to revoke it in order to be fully protected. If you have minor children and you have not updated your will, or if you do not have a will, your property will pass directly to your children at your death, and a legal proceeding will be required to hold the property in trust until they are 18. This will be an extra expense for your estate, and it is rarely wise for an 18-year old to have complete control over significant amounts of money. Your new estate planning can easily resolve this problem.


April M. Burt is a transactional lawyer. Katherine Langley and Chad Anderson are trial lawyers. These Asheville-based attorneys focus their practice in the areas of business law, employment law, estate planning, and transactional law. They serve clients in the Western North Carolina communities located in Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood, Madison, and surrounding counties.


Burt Langley, PC | 149 S. Lexington Avenue | Asheville, NC 28801 | P: 828-367-7090 | F: 828-318-8899