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Why should I update my estate plan after a divorce?

After months of divorce court and negotiating with your ex, the last thing you want to do is arrange another sit-down meeting with an attorney. However, if you haven’t already updated your estate plan after filing for divorce, is isn’t something you should delay any further.

Making an appointment right away to update your estate planning documents will protect you and any children that you have from your ex’s misconduct if anything unexpected happens to you after your divorce.

You’ve already shared enough of your property with your ex

The property division process in divorces often leads to bitter feelings and resentment. For example, if your spouse never worked, sharing your home equity and pension with them in a divorce can feel unfair.

Your spouse has already received their portion of your marital or shared assets during the divorce, so you really don’t want them to inherit more of your property after you die. You need need to remove them as a beneficiary from your estate planning documents. Although the courts do generally question estate plans that benefit ex-spouses, failing to update your documents might mean that your ex could inherit the majority of your property.

Your ex could be in a position of authority if you don’t act quickly

If you created a trust, living will or a power of attorney as part of a comprehensive estate plan, then the chances are good that you may have named your spouse as someone who could receive medical or financial authority if you experience a medical event or die.

You probably don’t want your ex to have access to your personal bank account or to be the one who makes decisions about what medical care you receive in an emergency. Updating your living will and trust documents will prevent your ex from gaining control over your property in the event of your death or incapacitation.

You may also need to make new decisions regarding a guardian for your children or how you structure their inheritance, especially if they are still minors. Thinking about how you included your spouse in your estate plan can make it easier for you to quickly remove them from all of the necessary documents.

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