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Recently divorced? Your estate planning needs probably changed

Jul 3, 2018 | Estate Planning

Getting a divorce can be one of the best decisions for unhappy Florida couples to make. However, reaching an agreeable divorce settlement can be emotionally exhausting, and many people forget that there is still work to be done when the process is over. Estate planning needs change throughout life, including before, during and after marriage.

Wills are one of the most commonly used estate planning documents, and most people will need to update theirs after a divorce. For those who never had children with their ex this can be as simple as removing them from one’s will entirely. Parents need a more thoughtful approach, which will usually include an ex on matters such as guardianship.

But what about beneficiaries and powers of attorney? Divorcees should be certain that they cancel any financial or health care powers of attorney that give their ex the ability to make decisions on their behalf. Beneficiary designations on important policies — such as life insurance or retirement — should also be updated even if a will gives these benefits to another person, as this can cause confusion for family as they attempt to finalize a loved one’s estate.

Some people view estate planning as a once-and-done situation. However, the process is much more fluid and adaptive than that, and most people in Florida should conduct an annual review of their current plan to check for any needed updates. Failing to do this essential part of estate planning — particularly after a divorce — can make it difficult to fully honor a person’s wishes.