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Divorce a perfect time to update estate planning documents

Florida residents in the middle of separations have a lot on their plates. Stock options and credit card statements fill their days as divorcees are expected to take thorough inventories of their assets for property division purposes. Though this may be the most immediately apparent necessity, divorce necessitates much more than just inventorying assets. Much needs to be updated in order to accommodate for the changes that divorce brings about. One of the more pressing and too-often-forgotten necessities is the updating of estate planning documents.

Florida residents have likely heard horror stories involving ex-husbands or ex-wives who end up inheriting every asset that should have gone to current spouses or other family members. These stories make for good gossip, but no one wants such tales to become nightmarish realities for spouses and family members left behind. To protect loved ones from such misbegotten blunders, then, divorcees must be diligent in updating their estate plans.

Updating an estate plan involves a number of elements. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is the will. If there is no will to begin with, now is the perfect time to draft one. If a will does in fact exist, a new will likely needs to be drafted with updated beneficiary designations and oftentimes a new Executor or Executrix will have to be chosen.

Then, there's the living will. The living will may sound similar, but it does not at all involve assets, properties or inheritors. It is a set of instructions that family members and medical professionals can look to in case a person falls into a permanently unconscious or terminal state. The living will makes clear what a person's desires are should anything like this occur.

Divorce is the perfect time to update these estate planning documents and others. Making these updates and changes now can spare family members and loved ones a lot of heartache and unnecessary stress.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Don't Forget To Update These Key Documents," Jeff Landers, Dec. 4, 2013

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