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Reviewing your estate plan upon divorce

Divorce brings many changes into one's life. Among the many issues you will have to deal with, reevaluating your estate plan ranks fairly high.

One issue to consider is that your financial situation may now change significantly. During property division, you may have to split some assets and sell others. You may also have to factor in ongoing alimony or child support payments you have to make in the coming years. As such, the composition of your potential estate at this time can change. Thus, you may want to start by reviewing and updating any list of assets included with your will.

Legal powers and your ex

Next, you may need to take a look at any documents where you assigned your ex a particular role. Many people designate their spouses as health proxies, cosigners on bank accounts, trustees and executors. Many of them would also strongly object to an ex filling these roles. It is now time for you to come up with alternative candidates who may be willing and able to step up to these responsibilities.

Insurance policies

Be sure to also review insurance documents. If you have designated your soon-to-be-ex as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy, you may want to change this provision. Some contracts automatically revoke spousal beneficiary status in the event of a divorce, so have your attorney check such documents carefully. However, even such a provision may not help if you pass away before finalizing the divorce, so you may still want to make changes proactively.

Providing for your children

If you have children, you likely still want to provide for them. Consider whether you now want your ex to serve as trustee or otherwise be in charge of assets you want your children to have.

Avoid counting on automatic legal status changes

The divorce process can last a long time, especially in high-asset, contentious cases. Bear in mind that if you pass away before completing the divorce, your spouse can still inherit all or half of your estate if you did not make a will. Your soon-to-be-ex will still be legally considered your spouse, and will, therefore, enjoy the legal ramifications of this status unless you draw up valid documents specifying otherwise.

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Meador & Johnson, P.A.
900 N. Palafox St
Pensacola, FL 32501

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