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Changing your estate plan: What to do after divorce

When you're going through a divorce, there are many things to do. One of the most important things is updating your estate plan. If you fail to do this and pass away, much of your estate could end up going to your ex-spouse.

When you're getting ready to divorce, you need to review your estate plan. You are considered to be married until you receive the final divorce decree, so if anything happens to you before that happens or before you change your estate plan, you could find that your assets go to someone you don't want them to go to. Additionally, depending on who you've appointed to make decisions on your behalf, someone who you no longer get along with or want to have control over you may have the right to make decisions for you.

A divorce has no effect on a will, so it's vital to talk to your attorney about any changes you want to make. If you want to leave assets to your ex-spouse, you can make a provision to state this in your will.

It's most important to look at your power of attorney. This is the document that gives your spouse the right to represent you as your agent. Usually, this is revoked when you file for divorce, but that's not always true. It's a good idea to remove the spouse as your POA to be certain there is no confusion in the future.

Source: The Balance, "5 Estate Planning Documents to Update When Getting a Divorce," Patti Spencer, March 21, 2018

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