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Updating an estate plan after a Georgia divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Estate Planning

An estate plan describes what someone wants to do with their property when they die. It can also provide key forms of support for dependent family members. Someone with minor children, for example, can name a guardian to take care of their children if they die while the children are still young.

Many people specifically choose to estate plan after getting married or having children. The main goal of the estate planning process may have been to provide for their loved ones and take the pressure off of them in the event of a tragedy. Therefore, spouses often play an integral role in someone’s estate plan.

If they divorce, it may be necessary to review and significantly update a Georgia estate plan. What does that process typically entail?

Correcting all relevant paperwork

Most people name their spouses among their beneficiaries in estate planning documents. In many cases, a spouse is the primary beneficiary of someone’s estate, meaning that they might inherit the vast majority of their property if they die. Therefore, updating an estate plan to remove a spouse as a beneficiary is necessary during the divorce process.

Spouses may also hold key roles in an estate plan. They could be the trustee designated to take over managing someone’s property or the agent named in power of attorney paperwork. Most of the time, people do not want a former spouse to have control over their financial or medical matters after a divorce.

People even include their spouses in documents not drafted by their lawyers. Spouses may be the recipients named in transfer-on-death designations for financial accounts. They could also be the chosen beneficiaries of life insurance policies. Testators typically need to update not just their wills and other estate planning documents but also any paperwork that they filed with insurance companies and financial institutions. In scenarios where divorced parents have minor children, revising an estate plan may even require the creation of a trust so that someone’s spouse can’t squander the resources they want their children to inherit.

Taking the time to update a Georgia estate plan after a divorce can help someone control their legacy and obtain better protection in the event of an emergency.

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