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7 things to do before your divorce

If you've decided to get a divorce, there are a few things you should do before you set the wheels in motion on your proceedings. The list that follows is by no means complete -- and you may want to consider what you should do individually -- but this pre-divorce checklist will help you get started on the right track with your divorce planning.

Here's what you should do to prepare for your divorce at a bare minimum:

  • Update your living revocable trust and/or update your will: Take your partner's name off of these documents as a beneficiary. Take your partner's name off of these documents as a personal representative. Also, take your partner's children's names off these documents so they're no longer beneficiaries of your estate.
  • Draft and sign a durable power of attorney: You'll need a new DPA that doesn't have your partner listed as your agent.
  • Create a health care surrogate and living will: You'll need to draft and sign a health care surrogate that doesn't list your partner as your agent.
  • Check beneficiary designations: Check your life insurance policies and your financial accounts -- including bank accounts and investment accounts -- to ensure that your partner is not listed as a beneficiary. This is essential.
  • Update your irrevocable trusts: These documents will require professional attention to ensure that the interests of your partner and his or her children are completely terminated.

Are you ready to begin your divorce process? With the right planning, you can ensure that your divorce happens as smoothly, quickly, stress-free and cost-effectively as possible.

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