Updating an Estate Plan Following a Divorce
Experiencing the birth of a child or a marriage are major joyful events that can prompt you to either establish or review your estate plan. Sadly, there are some situations that qualify as major life events that are not joyous occasions such as divorce. It will be important when going through the divorce process that you work with an attorney immediately to make changes to your estate plan that reflect the change in circumstances. Your final wishes could be impacted if you do not update your will after a divorce, defeating the purpose of creating an estate plan to begin with.
Normally, when a couple is married, their plans can look fairly similar. This is often because the couple’s estate plans are drafted simultaneously. It is common for the sole beneficiary of the estate, or the executor of the estate be appointed as the other spouse. There are some states that have a law in place to protect a person from their ex spouse becoming the sole beneficiary of the estate if the person were to pass away before they are able to update their will. It’s important to note that laws disinheriting your ex do not have an impact on any designations of beneficiaries or transferring of assets. Although they may work to your benefit, relying on state laws is not advisable. It will be important to have the specific details of your case assessed by an estate attorney O’Fallon MO can rely on.
There are a number of things that will need to be reviewed when updating your estate following a divorce that includes:
- Reviewing ownership structure of assets
- Overviewing beneficiaries that are allocated to inherit assets
- Add or remove any beneficiaries who should or should not receive your assets
- Update beneficiaries on retirement plans
- Update beneficiaries on life insurance policies
You will want to be sure to update all documents that name beneficiaries who stand to inherit your assets. Reassigning your assets to others such as your children or a new spouse, will ensure that your ex is unable to recover any of the proceeds from your will.
Divorce can be a long, drawn out and emotional process, updating your estate may be the last thing on your mind. It will be important to have an immediate response to this as you probably do not want your assets going to your ex. Contact an estate planning attorney to answer any questions you have about planning for the future if you have recently gone through a divorce.
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Thanks to our friends and contributors from Legacy Law Center for their insight into updating your estate plan after a divorce.