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Silver divorces demand updates to estate plans

Going through a silver divorce is rough. You probably thought that you were going to spend the rest of your life with your spouse, but then you found out that it was over. Everything about your life and your ex's life are probably so intertwined that it might seem difficult to think of having to separate everything and move forward on your own.

While working through the property division process might be taxing, there is another facet of a silver divorce that deserves just as much attention. This area is your estate plan. If you are going through a divorce or have already divorced, you need to make sure that your estate plan receives attention.

Rewrite your will

Rewrite your will. Your former will likely includes some assets that your ex-spouse got in the divorce. You need to write out a new will that reflects your current assets. You also have the power to decide who is going to get what without having to have your ex's input on the matter.

Designate new proxies

You need to think about who you want to make financial and medical decisions for you if you can't make them for yourself. Your ex might have held these designations before the divorce, but you might not want him or her to make these decisions for you now. Think carefully about who you will appoint for each type of proxy so that you know your interests will be protected.

Create a living will

While you are thinking about your medical care proxy, you need to update your living will. This document notes what types of medical treatments you are willing to accept and which ones you don't want. For example, if you don't want to be placed on life support, but you are willing to accept life-saving hydration and nutrition, include this information in your living will.

Create new trusts

If you have assets that you want to include in a trust, now is the time to get those trusts set up. Make sure that you understand the different types of trusts that might help you accomplish the goals you have for your assets.

It is important that you think carefully about each option. It might be difficult to make these decisions on your own, but now is the time to make sure that you have everything set up the way you wish without having to factor in another person's wishes. Of course, you may want to discuss your estate plan with your children and any other parties who have an interest in it so that you can answer questions or make clarifications if necessary.

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