If you're facing a divorce or recently survived one, then it is time to review your will and make sure that you've addressed any issues that the divorce may raise. If you do not choose to make this a priority, your wishes may get misinterpreted when it is time to honor your will's terms.
Divorce often restructures your family dramatically, on both personal and legal levels. Suddenly, the spouse you planned to build a life with, or perhaps did build a life with for many years, is no longer legally family. This may greatly change how you wish to distribute your assets and establish your legacy, which means it is very important to make any necessary changes in writing as soon as possible.
Even if your divorce does not change your will in any substantial way, you should review the will to make sure you still agree with all the terms within it and create a record of this review to assure your heir and beneficiaries that your will remained unchanged intentionally.
It is wise to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney about these issues, to make sure that you understand all the implications your divorce may have on your will and examine your legal options going forward. Professional counsel keeps your rights protected and your wishes clear, no matter how simple or complex your personal relationships.
Why change a will after divorce?
Depending on the nature of your will, it is very likely that your spouse was the primary beneficiary of your estate. While this makes perfect sense in many instances inside marriage, it is much less common for a person to divorce one's spouse but still leave him or her named as the primary beneficiary of an estate. If you choose to do so, be sure that your beneficiaries all understand that this is intentional, to avoid confusion.
For most individuals who divorce, it is crucial to remove their spouse from their will after the process finalizes. While it is always good to have a will, this is one of those instances where a will can cause great difficulties if it indicates something other than your true wishes for you estate.
If you and your ex-spouse have children, the divorce may change your wishes for how your estate distributes to them. You may want to provide for them in a specific way, or may want to make sure that your ex-spouse does not exert too much control over your resources if you pass away before the children reach adulthood.
Get the help you need for peace of mind
Be sure to review your will with an experienced estate planning attorney in your area. Not only can the attorney help you assess your legal options, he or she can alert you to any changes in local or federal estate planning laws that may affect your wishes in the will. Don't hesitate to get the guidance you need to review and amend your will and ensure that your wishes remain clear.