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Revise your estate plan after divorce

Divorce is often a complicated and messy process. Separating two lives takes careful planning and patience.

After a divorce, it is essential to take the next step in that separation by revising your estate plan.

Reconsider guardianship

If you have children with your ex, you may want to reevaluate who you had previously established as guardians of your children in the case of your death. If your spouse’s family members were previously selected, and you are no longer comfortable with that choice, revisit your plan to designate new guardians.

Name a new executor and trustee

Spouses are often named as executors for wills and put in charge of trusts. Update your estate plan to name a new person in these roles. If your ex was also named as your a power of attorney or medical power of attorney, reassign those roles as well.

Update beneficiaries

After you have removed your ex from your will, review all of the other documents where you named them as beneficiaries. Retirement accounts, investment accounts, life insurance and payable-on-death bank accounts all allow you to name beneficiaries when you open the accounts. Many of these account payouts quickly after death without going through probate. As long as your divorce agreement did not award your ex one of these accounts, take the time to go through each account and name new beneficiaries when your divorce is final.

If you use an estate planning attorney, give your divorce agreement to your attorney so that they can ensure that you meet your legal obligations to your spouse while you update your estate plan.