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Have You Separated? Consider Updating Your Estate Plan

documents being signed

Once a person becomes legally separated from a spouse, the focus may be on

retaining a divorce attorney. Did you know that it can also be important to locate a

qualified estate planning attorney as soon as possible? Let us discuss the legal risks

your estate plan faces, during the time of marital separation.


While your divorce is pending, your soon to be ex-spouse will still legally be your

spouse and thus, likely to remain the beneficiary via your estate planning

documents, or, if you pass away without a will, be deemed your legal next of kin. It

can be imperative, therefore, to meet with an estate planning attorney, as soon as

you become separated, to update these legal documents and protect your estate.


Separation can also be a good time to update legal tools such as your health care

surrogate and/or durable power of attorney. It may be good to designate a family

member or close friend to serve as your power of attorney, if your soon to be ex-

spouse is who you have designated. Otherwise, your soon to be ex-spouse may be

able to make financial decisions on your behalf, while the divorce is pending. In

addition, should you become mentally incapacitated, your ex-spouse may be the

one making medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf.


As soon as you separate, it may also be a good time to update accounts in your

name with new user IDs and passwords to prevent any unauthorized transfers or

changes. You may also want to update email passwords that your soon to be ex-

spouse may be in possession of, as you move toward divorce proceedings to assure

confidentiality, regarding the decisions you are making. You may also need to

update the named beneficiary on your retirement accounts, insurance policies and

bank accounts. You may, however, need to wait until after the divorce is finalized to

update beneficiaries.


The necessity of updating your estate plan, during an already trying time, may be

complicated and overwhelming when dealing with many new unknowns. Our office

can provide guidance on all of these changes, giving you the peace of mind that

your estate may be safeguarded. Please contact us today to schedule an

appointment.

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