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Estate planning during and after divorce

Divorcing couples in Arizona are required by law to keep some things the same as long as they are legally married. This may mean paying for an estranged spouse's health insurance and keeping them as the beneficiary on retirement accounts. However, there are a few things a spouse has the option to change while a divorce is still pending.

An estate plan should be updated after every significant life event. Marriage and divorce are two events that could impact an estate plan. When couples get married, they often name each other as health care proxy and power of attorney. To avoid having someone who may not have their best interests in mind while making these kinds of decisions, it's important to change designations as soon as possible after filing for divorce.

Other documents are not as easy to change. While it may not be possible to disinherit a spouse, removing their family members as beneficiaries in a will or trust could be an option. Parents of young children may also want to change the alternate guardian for their children in their will if a mutual friend or in-law was listed. Couples with prenuptial agreements should review the documents and make sure their estate plans comply with the decisions they made before they got married.

It's important to comply with the laws when it comes to estate planning during and after divorce. Some of the changes that are not permitted while the divorce is in progress may be allowed after the court issues a final decree. An experienced divorce attorney may advise a client to review their estate plan soon after they file for divorce and again when the separation is final.

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