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Estate Planning and Divorce

June 30, 2017 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

The best time to review or establish your estate plan is after a major life event, such as marriage or the birth of a child. Unfortunately, a divorce is also a major life event. As an Estate Planning Attorney, Memphis TN trusts, we recommend that you review your will or estate plan carefully if you are going through a divorce, and meet with your attorney so that any changes that are needed can be made right away.  The purpose of having a will or estate plan in the first place is to make sure that your wishes are carried out, and it may be that a major life change, such as a divorce, might have an effect on your wishes.

Married couples usually have their estate plans drafted at the same time, and the terms of each plan are very similar. More often than not, one spouse has named the other as the executor of his or her Estate, as well as the sole beneficiary of his or her Estate.  While many states have laws that essentially disinherit a person’s spouse in the event of divorce, these laws do not affect beneficiary designations or the titling or re-titling of assets.  Therefore, we do not advise that you rely on these types of laws. Instead, see an estate planning lawyer to discuss your specific situation.

In addition to reviewing your Will and other estate planning documents after a divorce, you should also review the ownership structure and beneficiary designations of any assets that will not pass under the terms of your Will, such as retirement plans or life insurance policies.  Many assets, such as these, do not pass under the terms of a person’s Will, but rather will be distributed according to beneficiary designations. It could be easy to overlook these types of assets, but unless you want your ex-spouse to recover these proceeds upon your death (instead of say, your new spouse or children), it is important to remember to review them and make appropriate changes to your beneficiary designations.

If you need help with your estate plan after a divorce, or if have questions about how you can plan ahead now for the future, contact a skilled lawyer today.

Wiseman Bray PLLCThanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience in Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning.

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