Don’t forget to update your will after a divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Life after divorce can be overwhelming. Even if divorce was the right choice for you, and you are looking forward to re-entering the world as a single person, there are many things that need to be taken care of post-divorce.

Updating a will is one thing many people may forget to do after a divorce. However, this important task should be taken care of as soon as possible, to avoid the chance of your property, assets or other valuables going to your former spouse.

Before you update your will, your former will must be revoked. The best way to do this is to tear or physically destroy the will. This is the clearest way to express your legal intent to invalidate the old will.

Drafting the new will

Changing your executor is an important first step when updating your will. An executor is the person who handles the distribution of your estate after you pass away. You likely chose your spouse to serve in this role, but someone else may now be a better fit.

After choosing a new executor, you will need to select new beneficiaries. Married people commonly draft their wills to automatically leave everything to their spouse. You should carefully examine each item that you were leaving to your spouse and select a new beneficiary. You may no longer want everything to go just one person but may want to distribute items among a selection of new beneficiaries.

There are additional considerations for divorced couples with minor children. A will often designates a guardian, who would take on the legal responsibility of caring for your children if something happened to you and your spouse. You may now prefer a different person serve as a guardian.

Even after your new will is legally in place, your former spouse may challenge it. There are many factors a court examines in these situations to determine if the new will can be upheld or if the old will should remain in place. Qualified legal counsel can help if you find yourself in this situation.

 

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