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Divorce is one of those experiences that truly impacts every portion of a person’s life. From the financial to the emotional and everything in between, nothing seems to be left the same after a divorce. People who get divorced must reassess many parts of their lives and adjust plans for the future as well as their everyday activities. One thing that requires attention at this time is a person’s estate plan.

It is common for a married person to identify their spouse as the primary beneficiary on a life insurance policy, retirement plan or in a will. The same person is also likely to be named as the one able to make medical or financial decisions for their spouse should the spouse be unable to do so for themselves. As explained by Forbes, some of these things can and should be changed as soon as a couple makes the choice to go their separate ways. Other things, however, must wait until a divorce has been finalized.

A durable power of attorney and health care proxy are two estate planning documents that should be updated early in the separation and divorce process. Other tools should be addressed once a divorce has been completed and the person knows what assets they have left. Some divorce decrees also require one spouse to remain as a beneficiary on some policies.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give divorcing or separated spouses some ideas to think about when determining how to protect their assets during and after a marital separation or divorce.