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When you divorce, address your estate plan, too

If you're getting a divorce, one thing you should do is make sure you review your estate plan. You and your ex-spouse may negotiate arrangements that affect your estate plan, so it's smart to talk to your attorney about adjusting it as needed.

With estate plans, updates are a good idea each time you have a major life event. In this case, you may want to remove your ex-spouse from the agreement or make changes that guarantee that they get a portion of a retirement benefit or other benefits that are discussed in the plan.

You may want to adjust the plan to remove your ex-spouse or to make sure that step-children are included in your will, as well. For example, if you have two biological children and one step-child, you may still want to guarantee that your ex-step-child will be able to receive a portion of the assets you intended to leave behind for your children. Since you're no longer married, the court may not recognize their right as an heir, but you can still make accommodations for them in your estate plan.

You should also remove your ex-spouse as your trustee, executor or health care proxy unless you are both still on good terms. It's smart to discuss these issues with your ex-spouse when possible, but if you don't have the opportunity, it's better to remove them and then consider adding them back later in life. The last thing you would want is to name someone to help with your estate who doesn't want to deal with it.

Your attorney can talk to you more about your estate plan and changes that need to be made during your divorce.

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