As a general rule, you should review your estate plan periodically and make changes as necessary. You should be especially sure to update your plan after major life events, such as the birth of a child, purchase of a home, death of a loved one or even a divorce.

In Minnesota, divorce should remove your ex-spouse from some estate planning documents. However, it may be prudent to go through all your estate planning documents with a professional to make sure your ex is removed in all possible places and someone new is selected instead.

Select new beneficiaries

It is important you reevaluate your assets, which may have changed in the divorce, and who you would like to have them after you die. This can mean revoking an existing will and replacing it with an updated one. It can also mean assigning a new beneficiary to accounts like stocks, bank accounts, retirement accounts, payable-on-death accounts and life insurance.

Name others to take control

If you listed your ex-spouse as the executor of your will, you may need to select someone else for that responsibility. It may also be beneficial to consider who will manage your financial affairs and medical decisions if you become incapacitated. Updates may need to be made to power of attorney documents or health care directives.

Considerations for minor children

If you have minor children, a trust may now be a more appropriate way than a will to pass on your possessions because it can allow you to have more control over the time they receive the assets and what the assets can be used for. You can also appoint a guardian for your children in case you die unexpectedly and something prevents their other parent from becoming their guardian.

If you have been recently divorced, there are several changes you should consider making to your estate plan. An estate plan that no longer reflects your needs or wishes can cause your family significant time, money and emotional turmoil if they must dispute documents in court. By updating your estate plan, you can make your wishes clear and prevent many of the complications that could otherwise happen.