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What to do immediately after divorce

Completing the divorce process is a significant milestone that often comes after a huge amount of time, effort, and expense. Looking ahead to the next stage of your life can be exciting and even a bit intimidating, and it can be tough to know what to do next. 
 
When it comes to your finances and insurance, however, this is the perfect time to make changes to move forward and match your new post-divorce life. Here are some things to consider doing immediately after a divorce. 

Insurance changes to make after divorce

Consider these actions to update your insurance coverage: 
 
  • Remove spouse as health care proxy 
  • Remove spouse as power of attorney 
  • Change beneficiaries 
  • Update accounts due to name change 
  • Remove spouse from insurance policies 
Review your insurance coverage, for your physical assets like your car and home as well as health and life insurance, to ensure you’re properly covered going into your next chapter. You may also need to update your needs around income protection (disability insurance, long-term disability). Consider updating how you plan for longevity care risks and health care events as well. 

Financial updates to make post-divorce

  • Review your will, trusts, and estate plan, including beneficiaries named on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. 
  • Change your website passwords, your PINs, and ensure your account profile and contact information is correct. Update accounts if you’re changing your name. 
  • Close any joint accounts or change the registrations to ensure you’re not liable for expenses your former spouse may be incurring. 
  • Remove your spouse from banking accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans, insurance policies, etc. 
  • Change your beneficiaries on any existing accounts, if applicable, to ensure your legacy is protected. Your beneficiary designations on qualified accounts and insurance policies may take precedence over any instructions left in a will or other estate planning documents, so it's vital to keep them up to date. Check with your individual state laws to see if this is the case. 
  • Be aware how you file your taxes the next time, joint vs. separate, could also be impacted.  
  • Request and review a credit report to gain full visibility into your credit. 

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Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

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