Estate Planning After Marriage or Divorce


When you marry or remarry, any pre-existing will may become void. The law assumes that you want your new spouse to be included in your estate plan and an ex-spouse excluded and the same happens with many, but not all, beneficiary designations. If not addressed this can cause problems for your family when it comes time to utilize the documents.
During a divorce, substantial time and effort are spent determining the division of assets, beneficiary designations and child custody. You should ensure that your hard-fought plan is properly implemented. You will likely want to void old Power of Attorneys and Advance Directives that name an ex-spouse and identify a new agent to act on your behalf. Although, you may still want an ex-spouse to serve as trustee for a trust that is for the benefit of your shared children, you should confirm these intentions to ensure that everyone understands your desires.
Even if you are not the one getting a divorce, there can still be issues when there is a divorce in your family, as a family member's divorce may affect your plans. For instance, if you pass away while an adult child is in the process of a divorce, the inheritance you intend for your child may be divided between them and their ex-spouse.
By revisiting all your documents with a knowledgable attorney when you or a family member gets divorced, you will best ensure that the courts honor your wishes.

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