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Divorce means it's time to update your estate plan

When you decide to get divorced, it means that much of the estate plan you created with your former spouse no longer applies. Some things may still work -- leaving assets to your children, for instance -- but it is time to take a look at all of the documents and make sure they have been properly updated to reflect the fact that you are now single.

You should do the same thing if you get remarried. This is especially important if you forgot to do it when you got divorced, so some of your documents name your ex even though you have a new spouse to consider. Regardless, a few of the documents you may want to update include:

  • A will
  • A trust
  • A life insurance policy
  • A medical power of attorney
  • A legal power of attorney
  • A retirement plan
  • A living will
  • A medical advance directive
  • Documents relating to guardianship
  • Papers for investment portfolios, namely if your ex is the beneficiary
  • Business succession plans

Essentially, just take a moment to consider everything that you and your ex put in place together to plan for that hypothetical future. It's good that you did your planning in advance -- far too many people put it off -- but you can't forget about it or assume you never have to think about it again once it's done. Divorce is just one of many reasons that you need to update the plan and stay on top of things.

Throughout this entire process, make sure you know exactly what steps you need to take to get the plan ready to go.

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