Deciding to divorce and then following through with it is a major event in most people’s lives. While most likely feel a sense of relief when they reach the end of the process, the work may not be done. When any major life event-like divorce-occurs, it is important to update your estate plan. The failure to do so could result in decisions being made about your assets and health that you did not intend.

Who are your beneficiaries?

The first document that likely comes to mind when one thinks about estate planning is a will. Couples who have taken the time to execute a will usually name their spouse as the main beneficiary. When a divorce is finalized, unless a change is made, this will still be valid. Most people want to give as little money as possible to their former spouse, necessitating a change. For the same reason, any retirement accounts wherein your ex-spouse is named as a beneficiary should be changed.

Who gets to make decisions?

Beneficiary information is not the only thing that should be reviewed and possibly changed following a divorce. It is also important that you take a second look at who you have given powers of attorney should you become incapacitated and unable to make important decisions for yourself. You should trust those you name to make what may be difficult decisions about your finances and health.

Exactly which estate planning documents need to be updated will vary depending on your specific situation. To make sure you not only secure the best possible settlement but that your wishes regarding your finances and health will be followed moving forward, it is beneficial to work with a lawyer who has the knowledge to do both.