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Estate Planning for Divorced and Widowed Women

The death of a partner and divorce are both painful and overwhelming processes, riddled with emotion, decisions and paperwork.  It is easy to overlook or ignore other important aspects of one’s life following such a difficult time.  Nevertheless, it is critically important to rebuild, particularly for women who had once shared (or completely renounced) financial responsibilities.  In doing so, it is imperative, during or after the death or divorce, that women update (or create) their estate plans in order to ensure that they, their assets and their families are all appropriately and adequately protected. 


Specifically, beneficiary designations for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, IRAs, retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance policies should all be updated to remove a deceased or ex-spouse and appropriately name a new beneficiary.  In order to prevent an ex-spouse from inheriting assets and, thereby, potentially disinheriting other loved ones, women must update their wills and/or revocable trusts.  In addition, ensure that you destroy any previously executed documents naming your ex-spouse as an agent under your health care proxy or power of attorney, and execute a new instrument designating the appropriate individual to serve instead. 

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