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Making an Estate Plan After Divorce: Protecting Your Assets and Wishes

Going through a divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience. While it marks the end of a chapter in your life, it also presents an opportunity to reassess and update your estate plan. Estate planning is crucial to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and to protect the interests of your loved ones. At Leeson & Leeson, our Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys are here to help you revisit your estate plan after a divorce and the key elements to consider.

Why Is It Important to Update Your Estate Plan?

One of the primary reasons to update your estate plan after a divorce is to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary or executor of your estate. In most cases, divorce automatically revokes any provisions naming your former spouse as a beneficiary in your will or trust. However, reviewing and updating your estate planning documents to reflect your new circumstances and intentions is still essential.

Key Elements to Consider When Reviewing Your Estate Plan

Will and Trust: Review your existing will and trust documents to ensure they are current to reflect your wishes. You may want to change the distribution of assets, select a new executor or trustee, and update any provisions related to your former spouse.

Beneficiary Designations: Review and update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. This step is crucial to ensure your assets go to the intended beneficiaries, not your former spouse.

Guardianship: If you have minor children, it is essential to designate a guardian who will take care of them in the event of your passing. This decision should be made carefully, considering the best interests of your children and their relationship with your former spouse. Further, if you have more children with a new spouse, you will want to ensure they are included in the plan.

Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy: Review and update your power of attorney and healthcare proxy documents. You may want to appoint a new person to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf, particularly if your former spouse was previously designated.

Estate Tax Planning: Revisit your estate tax planning strategies to maximize the preservation of your assets and minimize tax obligations. This may involve creating or updating trusts, establishing gifting strategies, or exploring other estate planning tools.

Pennsylvania Estate Planning Attorneys at Leeson & Leeson

When updating your estate plan after a divorce, seek the guidance of our experienced Bethlehem estate planning attorneys at Leeson & Leeson. We will help you navigate the complex legal requirements, ensure that your documents comply with Pennsylvania law, and provide valuable insights to protect your assets and the interests of your beneficiaries. By taking proactive steps to make the necessary changes, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and protect the interests of your loved ones. Remember, estate planning is an ongoing process, and regular reviews and updates are essential to keep your plan current and reflective of your evolving circumstances.



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