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Don't forget to update your estate plan after divorce

Divorce is a major life event that roughly half of married couples will experience at some point. And whether the divorce is amicable or contentious, it will typically have a considerable impact on a person's future.

This includes the future that you planned for when you created an estate plan. 

Divorce will likely affect numerous elements of your estate plan, so it is important that you review your plan and make the necessary changes following a split.

More specifically, you should consider changing your will and estate planning documents in the following ways.

  1. Change your beneficiaries. While divorce will effectively eliminate your ex's ability to recover your property, as noted in Tennessee state laws, you should still thoroughly examine your will for other reasons. For instance, you can make changes so that your former in-laws or other parties do not receive property you now want to go elsewhere.  Also examine life insurance and retirement account beneficiary designations to remove your ex as a named beneficiary.
  2. Update asset information. Divorce means that you will divide your marital assets. Review your will and update it to reflect your current property and financial resources.
  3. Review designations. Is your ex still listed as your estate representative? Is he or she still on your advanced care directive? Does he or she still have power of attorney? Review these and other designations to ensure your ex will not have control over your finances, estate administration or medical decisions unless you still want that. You should also be sure to designate someone in your ex's place.

Making these changes to an estate plan may not seem important when you are already dealing with the complexities of a divorce, but doing so is vital to ensuring your wishes remain protected. While it doesn't have to happen immediately, it is typically best not to wait. 

If you have specific questions about your will and what changes may be necessary in the aftermath of a divorce, you can review your existing plan or create a new plan with an experienced attorney.

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