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How Does Divorce Affect Estate Planning? March 22, 2018

Central Business District, Rochester
How Does Divorce Affect Estate Planning?, Rochester, New York

Getting divorced is a major life transition that affects everything from holiday plans to retirement goals. As such, it can take time to adjust to all the changes. There are some legal factors—like changing your last name—that you can tackle whenever you want, but there are other tasks—like estate planning—that need to be addressed with a wills and estates attorney as soon as possible. 

Beneficiary Designations

Most married individuals name their spouses as the designated beneficiaries of assets like retirement accounts, pension plans, and life insurance policies. If you have children, keeping your spouse on the life insurance policy may be wise in case something happens while they are still minors. However, you will likely want to update all other beneficiary designations.

A wills and estates attorney will help you review any and all financial accounts, including those for which you do not remember designating a beneficiary, to ensure nothing falls through the cracks in the wake of the divorce.

Powers of Attorney 

wills and estates attorneyPowers of attorney (POAs) are an essential component of any comprehensive estate plan. Married couples often need these documents for other legal scenarios, as well, so it is not uncommon for those who are getting divorced to have several POA arrangements in place.

A lawyer will review all the POAs you have created over the years to determine which ones are still active and which need to be voided or updated. For example, you may want to replace your ex-spouse on any financial POAs with a parent, sibling, or adult child. Likewise, you should choose a close friend or relative to serve as your health care proxy in the event of an accident.


If you recently finalized a divorce, turn to Steve Butcher Sr., Esq., to discuss the implications that ending the marriage had on your estate plan. Based in Rochester, NY, this wills and estates attorney helps clients throughout all of Monroe County manage their affairs. Visit the firm online to learn more about what they do, and call (585) 263-2444 to schedule an initial consultation with a wills and estates attorney today.


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