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Estate planning after a divorce is important for many reasons

Many estate planning attorneys, including here in Florida, recommend that their clients who have completed a divorce action should meet with the attorney after the divorce to go over various important planning issues. One important reason is that a thorough review of all beneficiary designations is critical at that point in time. Many policies and pay on death accounts may still have the former spouse's name on them as the beneficiary. Other factors may contribute to the need to review the estate planning landscape. 

In order to start, one should work up a complete list of all assets owned. Wherever a pay-on-death provision is involved the beneficiary should be checked to see if the designation still makes sense. Not only could the divorce have changed the circumstances, but death and other changes could have occurred unrelated to the divorce.

The way property is titled may also have to be changed. Presumably, a lot of the work will have been done in a negotiated divorce process, and one's divorce attorney would have taken steps to change the title on various assets, including real estate deeds. However, where the parties have engaged in a quick and uncontested divorce, numerous important legal changes may have been ignored. The process will give the recently divorced person a review of all assets to assure that everything is titled properly and that all of the desired beneficiaries are in place in all applicable accounts and policies.

This will also be an opportune time to go over all other estate planning documents for accuracy and updating. Where there is no estate plan, it is also an opportune time to create one for the first time. One must remember to provide the estate planning attorney with all documents and agreements prepared and agreed to during the divorce. With the prevalence of gray divorces these days, Florida is a state where the foregoing procedures will serve a recent divorced person well.

Source: clevelandjewishnews.com, "Pre-planning can help protecting estate in divorce resolution", Becky Raspe, April 19, 2018

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