Going through a divorce leads to continual life adjustments even after the court proceedings are over. It has a lasting effect on all areas of life, and keeping up with all the changes can be challenging.

One thing you should not let slip beneath the radar is your estate plans. You need to update the terms to reflect your current situation, or your family could have some surprises upon your passing. If your spouse took care of all the estate plans, you need to create your own that will express your wishes, or state law will determine how to handle your estate and health care.

Beneficiaries

First, change who will receive your assets. You likely listed your spouse as a primary beneficiary in your old will. If you still want him or her to be in it, make it clear it is not a mistake to avoid your family contesting the document. If you have already remarried, you definitely want to include your new spouse and explicitly state whether or not any stepchildren are beneficiaries, too. Remember to update other accounts with beneficiaries, as well, such as life insurance policies.

Powers of attorney

These plans outline who will have the legal authority to act in your behalf either now or in the event you become incapacitated. There are different powers of attorney to cover financial and medical decisions. If you named your spouse in any of these roles, you may want to choose someone else unless you trust that your ex would still act in your best interest. However, if you have remarried, it is best to choose your new spouse.

Legal care of children

If you have minor children, you need to set up a guardianship. Even though your ex will have primary custody, something could happen to him or her as well. If you have sole custody, a guardianship is even more important. For adult children in college, set up powers of attorney for them, whether they be your ex or someone else, to ensure their well-being when you cannot help them.