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3 estate planning steps during or immediately after a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Divorce is emotionally draining, consuming your thoughts and energy for months or even years. Updating your estate plan might be the last thing on your mind. However, neglecting it poses a risk – your ex-spouse could inherit assets meant for someone else. 

Taking proactive steps during or just after your divorce can safeguard your property and estate plan.

Revise your will

Most married couples name each other as beneficiaries in their final will. If this was your situation, your estate plan needs an adjustment. To remove your ex entirely, you can rewrite your existing will or create a new one. But don’t stop there – review all your estate planning documents, including trusts and powers of attorney, to ensure your ex is no longer named.

Eliminate document access

Consider this. Does your ex know where you keep important documents? Do they have access to safety deposit boxes or online accounts? An often overlooked aspect of estate planning is controlling who has access to your assets and critical documents. Consider removing their ability to access your documents, files and assets early in the divorce process.

Address account designations

Like many, you probably named your spouse as the beneficiary of your retirement accounts, insurance policies and bank accounts. Even if you update your will to exclude your ex, remember to remove them from these individual accounts. Beneficiary designations in financial accounts typically supersede conflicting instructions in your will. Take the time to remove your ex from all these accounts.

An Ohio estate planning representative can guide you in updating your documents, allowing you to focus on your divorce with your personal assets secured.