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Update your estate plan when you are going through a divorce

A divorce is an all-consuming, emotionally draining event, and if you are ending your marriage, the process likely occupies all your waking hours.

However, you should take some time to consider important related matters, such as the location of the estate plan you filed away years ago and the need to make some changes at this point in your life.

Review your prenuptial agreement

The first document you may think of in terms of revision might be your will, and that is certainly a consideration. However, if you have a prenuptial agreement, this is the first document you should review. Go over it with your attorney to make sure you know what assets the agreement entitles your spouse to in the event of divorce. The new estate plan you create should align with the terms of the prenup.

Amend your revocable trust

Who is the current trustee? Work with your attorney about amending your revocable trust now that you are divorcing. Should you leave assets to your spouse? What about the provisions for your children? Should your soon-to-be-ex have access to funds meant for him or her? Remember that if you named your spouse guardian, he or she will be able to access and control money for the children if you should die.

Revisit beneficiary designations

Is your spouse named as the beneficiary of your life insurance, 401(k) or other retirement accounts? While you are working on updating your estate plan, find out what you can and cannot change about any beneficiary designations you may have made.

Create a new will

Did you appoint your soon-to-be-ex as your executor? In light of the divorce, any language pertaining to the naming of your spouse as executor will be removed from your will under Washington law. You can revoke your current will and create a new one.

Review your plan after the divorce

The steps you take to make changes in your estate plan while your divorce is under way are probably stop-gap measures. Once the process is behind you, go over the plan with your attorney to alter any provisions that need updating in view of the divorce.

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1325 4th Avenue, Suite 940
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