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Divorced? Have you updated your estate plan?

Divorce is often ranked as one of the most difficult life experiences. Most people consider the emotional challenges of going through a divorce and changes to the family structure. But there are many technical and legal aspects of a divorce, as well.

One often overlooked area of divorce is related to estate planning, specifically the need for divorced individuals to update their estate planning documents. Here are four specific items that may require updating after a divorce:

  • Beneficiaries: If a former spouse was listed as a beneficiary, his or her name will need to be removed from documents. A divorce decree is likely not enough to ensure the removal from a former spouse's name from retirement accounts, insurance policies, certain bank accounts, etc.
  • Health care directives: A health care directive documents an individual's wishes in regard to health care in the event of incapacitation. Through divorce, a former spouse is removed as a surrogate. However, it is important to make sure that you list an alternate surrogate if you have gotten a divorce.
  • Wills: Through divorce, a former spouse is effectively removed from a will. However, it is important that your will accurately names your beneficiaries, designates how you want your property to be distributed, and reflects your wishes for the future.
  • Retirement: A divorce decree may not be enough to divide retirement accounts. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is often used to outline the distribution of retirement assets post-divorce.

It is advisable to speak to an estate planning attorney about your unique needs - and to ensure that your personal and financial interests are protected as you move through and beyond the divorce process.

Talk to an attorney today: To schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your options, please call 407-680-1471.

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