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Are you divorcing the executor of your estate?

Regardless of the nature of your estate and the duties that the executor of your estate must perform, it is important to review your estate plan every three to four years to refresh your memory of the details and to make sure your current choice of executor is correct. In many instances, you may find that your executor needs to be replaced.

This is especially true when spouses divorce. It is very common for spouses to name each other as executors of their respective estates, and when divorce comes knocking, this is a serious complication. If you allow your former spouse to remain the executor of your estate, he or she may take revenge on you for any number of real or perceived sleights when you pass away, including having authority to access your online profiles.

You may think that you can circumvent this issue by naming your child as the executor, and in some cases, this is a good solution, but not always. If you name your child as the executor of your estate, be sure that you foster a strong relationship with him or her, especially during the divorce. Divorce has a way of bringing out strange, volatile behavior in family members, which can affect your estate if you are not careful.

A strong legal strategy and a carefully-chosen, neutral executor can help you identify these issues and deal with them effectively. At the same time, this gives you the space and flexibility to focus on your divorce and the many issues that you must navigate to successfully transition out of marriage. Take great care to protect your rights and future as you finalize your divorce and get your affairs in order as a newly single person.

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