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Make Sure to Update Your Will and Estate Plan After a Divorce

Estate plans are at once intensely personal and a shared endeavor. The goal of most wills and trusts is to specify what you wish to leave to your family or other beneficiaries so that they can carry out their own wishes and dreams once you are gone. These plans, however, are often created by married couples who do not anticipate major changes in their lifestyle. After a divorce, you need to rethink everything.

The first step you should take in revising your estate plan following divorce is to tear up or revoke your old will and then replace it. Your existing will likely leaves most of your assets to your former spouse, something you may wish to avoid after you have separated. While the law may automatically invalidate some of these gifts, a new will gives you the option to clearly explain your plan to transfer your property to children, relatives or charities.

Not all assets are passed down through a will. Many, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and pay-on-death bank accounts, pass to a named beneficiary. If your former spouse was named as the beneficiary on any of these accounts or instruments, you may wish to choose a new beneficiary who can take ownership once you are gone.

You should also consider issues such as powers of attorney and healthcare advance directives. If you have appointed your former spouse to make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated, you may wish to designate someone else to fulfil those intensely personal duties.

If you are seeking assistance with your divorce or updating your will, schedule a consultation with the experienced and committed estate planning attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia. We serve clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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