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Divorce should prompt estate planning changes

When a Texas couple goes through a divorce, a number of tasks must be accomplished in the transition from one household into two. Estate planning is one of those items, and one that should rank near the top of any post-divorce to-do list. Newly divorced spouses will want to set aside the time to sit down and ensure that their estate planning documents are in line with their current wants and needs.

The transfer of assets at the time of one's death is generally the first thing that comes to mind when considering how an estate plan should be altered following a divorce. However, there is another facet of estate planning that may be even more important than ensuring that one's ex does not inherit money or property. Drafting new incapacitation documents should be a top priority for spouses who are considering filing for divorce, or for those who have recently emerged from the divorce process.

In many cases, spouses name each other as their designated representative in the event that they become incapacitated due to illness or injury. Once a divorce has taken place, few people would want their former husband or wife to be tasked with making their medical or financial decisions in an emergency setting. However, without taking the time to change these documents, that could be the outcome.

Preparing new medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney documents is a relatively easy step. Texas residents should select a new person to take on these important roles, and should sit down with that person to go over how things should be handled if the need arises. This may seem like a minor estate planning task to accomplish, and an easy one to postpone. If a serious medical event should occur, however, having the proper person(s) designated as one's chosen representative could be a matter of life or death.

Source: marketwatch.com, "Just divorced? Don't forget to separate your estate plans", Liz Moyer, Feb. 23, 2015

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