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How to estate plan when a marriage is over

Georgia residents should review their estate plans after major life events such as divorce. This can help a person make sure that neither the spouse or the spouse's family is still a part of the plan. In addition to making changes to a will, it may also be necessary to make changes to a trust or to beneficiary designations. Beneficiary designations are typically used to transfer real property, bank accounts or other financial assets.

In many cases, a person will name his or her spouse to be a health care proxy or financial power of attorney. After a divorce, the ex might not be the best choice to fill those roles. Therefore, it is a good idea to review these documents and make changes if necessary. It may be worthwhile to review the plan with an attorney following a divorce. Doing so could minimize the chances of making changes that might be prohibited under state law.

In some cases, the language in an insurance or other contract will trump the language in a will or beneficiary designation. It is also important to pay attention to any dissolution decree that has been created. The dissolution decree could further limit a person's options when it comes to estate planning when a marriage comes to an end.

While many estate planning strategies exist, they may not be as effective unless a plan is reviewed on a regular basis. Ideally, a plan will be reviewed every couple of years or when a major life event occurs. A divorce, birth of a child or death in the family could be considered major life events. Individuals who need to review a plan may do so on their own or with the help of an attorney.

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