Planning for the Ds

Advice from an estate planner and attorney

D is for Do Your Planning

If you have experienced any of these life events this year, it is time to start or update your estate planning.

I Do

Whether it is your first marriage or your sixth, your spouse is now entitled to between one-third and all of your estate if you don’t update your planning. You need a new Will to direct just how much your new spouse and other beneficiaries inherit at your death.


No matter how good your relationship with your ex-spouse, once you divorce they are dead to you, at least with regard to your estate planning. The divorce decree automatically removes them from any estate planning documents you signed during or before your marriage.


The birth or adoption of a new child or grandchild should spur you to review your planning. If your Will does not contemplate a new family member a child may receive an unintended share, while a grandchild may unintentionally be excluded.

Death of Spouse

Once you have spent some time grieving, you should update your planning documents. Since so many of us name our spouse, you likely need a new agent on your Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Health Care. You may also need a new executor and update your beneficiaries.


A scary diagnosis like cancer or dementia leads many people to start their planning. This is your chance to give directions for your finances and care in case you become too ill to manage your own affairs. A Financial Power of Attorney and Advance Directive for Health Care allow you to name agents and direct their actions.

Kelley is an attorney with Brannon Napier Elder Law, LLC, Elder Law/Estate Planning/Special Needs Planning. 770.854.0688

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