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After a Divorce, Change Your Estate Plan, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA


One of the first things that you should do after a divorce is finalized is to change all of your estate planning documents to reflect your new life circumstances.

People react in a couple of different and predictable ways when their divorces are finalized. Some people are sad while others are elated. Nearly everyone, however, thinks that after a judge signs an official decree of divorce, everything is finalized and they are legally free of their ex-spouses.

That is not necessarily the case if you have any end-of-life or estate planning documents.

A recent Forbes article titled The First Thing You Must Do When Your Divorce Is Final” illustrates this concern.

If your ex-spouse’s name is still on estate planning documents, then many of them will still be legally enforceable. For example, if your ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a trust, your ex-spouse will still be a beneficiary until the documents are changed.

If your ex-spouse is named as a power of attorney, then your ex-spouse will still have that authority. The one document that might not still be valid as written is a will as many states will strike any will provisions that include an ex-spouse if the will was created before the divorce was finalized.

Although not changing your will to exclude an ex-spouse means you do not get to determine who should get the assets instead.

What this means is that after getting a divorce you need to review your estate plan and make any necessary changes. The one caveat? You should not disobey any orders made during the divorce.

For example, if you were required by the terms of the divorce to leave your wife as a beneficiary of a retirement policy, then you must continue to do so for as long as required.

Reference: Forbes (Aug. 14, 2016) “The First Thing You Must Do When Your Divorce Is Final.”

Suggested Key Words: Estate Planning, Divorce

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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce