Divorcing? Don't forget to modify your estate plan

Getting divorced can be emotional. After all, two individuals who were once in love have to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer right for each other. While this process can leave individuals feeling upset, distrusting, and sad, it also provides them with an opportunity to secure a fresh start. While many individuals consider this new beginning to pertain to the way one lives life, it should also affect how one plans to dispose of his or her assets after death.

An individual's estate plan may need to be overhauled in the event of divorce. To start, an ex-spouse should be removed from a health care directive so that he or she is not responsible for making important health care-related decisions in the event that an individual is injured and unable to communicate. Then, any power of attorney naming the ex-spouse should be revoked and a new power of attorney should be created. This will protect one's financial interests.

That's not all that needs to be addressed, though. Wills and trusts should also be modified so that, if one so desires, an ex-spouse does not wind up inheriting assets from the estate. Beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts should also be changed if needed. Creating a trust for minor children is also an important step to take, as this will prevent an ex-spouse from controlling those children's inherited assets until they reach the age of 18.

Divorce can upend an individual's life. With all the change that comes with marriage dissolution, many forget to address the changes needed to their estate plan. By touching base with their estate planning attorney, though, these individuals can better ensure that their estate is as fully protected as is possible moving forward.

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