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Estate planning considerations for divorce

All California residents need an estate plan. You should make one while you are still relatively young, but you will need to update these documents regularly throughout your life. One of the most critical times to revise a will and trust is if you ever divorce your spouse. 

You hope you will never divorce your husband or wife, but anything can happen in life. There are plenty of documents you need to fill out and submit during a divorce, but you should never neglect your estate planning documents once the separation is final. 

Guardian provisions

When you and your former spouse have minor children, you need to ensure someone has the designation of guardian should anything ever happen to you or your ex. After a divorce, your former spouse will retain guardianship if you pass away. However, you need to be ready in the event something happens to both of you after divorce. You do not want to leave it to chance that your ex included such provisions in his or her will. You need to be ready for anything. 

Revocable trust

Many people create revocable trusts, and they list their spouse as beneficiary or trustee. You will need to change this so that your ex does not receive most of your assets when you pass. It is for this reason many people opt for revocable trusts rather than irrevocable trusts. You cannot change irrevocable trusts. In this instance, a former spouse would remain a beneficiary and have entitlements to your assets. 

Powers of attorney

You should have two separate documents listing your powers of attorney. One should state who will make financial decisions when you are incapable of doing so independently. The other one should state who you want to make medical decisions. After a divorce, you will likely want to give your power of attorney to someone you can trust. 

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