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Take these estate planning steps after a divorce

If you decide to move forward with the divorce process, this will change your life in many ways.

While many people focus on the "here and now," such as the impact on their personal finances, you also need to think about the future. This means many things, such as a focus on your estate plan.

You need to alter your estate plan once you decide that divorce is in your future. Here are some of the many steps you need to take:

-- Review your will or trust for changes. It goes without saying that you will need to make some changes. You need to pinpoint each and every one so that you can deal with it accordingly.

-- Prepare a power of attorney. Who will handle your finances in the event that you become incapacitated in the future? If you already have one of these in place, you need to revoke your old power of attorney and create a new one.

-- Choose a new beneficiary. From stocks to bonds, from retirement accounts to life insurance, you need to review your beneficiary designations. If your former spouse is the beneficiary of any account or policy, you will probably want to change this as soon as possible.

-- Keep all estate planning documents in a safe place. It may sound paranoid, but there are times when ex-spouses attempt to alter documents to improve their situation. You need to keep all your estate planning paperwork safe and secure at all times.

-- Think about your child. Although the other parent may have first right to custody in the event of your death, this doesn't always hold true. This is why you need to name a guardian.

A divorce may be the best way to improve your life at the present time, but it will also alter your future in a number of ways.

When you take the right estate planning steps after a divorce, you can feel better about the future. If anything appears out of place, you shouldn't hesitate to review your situation and make the necessary changes. If you don't, it could cause problems for you and/or your loved ones at some point down the road.

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