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A Divorce Impacts Estate Planning

It is common for couples to have completed their estate planning while married. Unfortunately, many people forget to update their estate plan after obtaining a divorce. While the divorce automatically severs the ex-spouse from inheriting under a will or a trust (unless the trust specifically states otherwise), the divorce does not sever the other provisions as to the disposition of property.

For example, in your will, you name your spouse to inherit, and if your spouse does not survive you, then your spouse’s parents inherit. Then you get a divorce. The divorce only changed the inheritance as to your ex-spouse, but not as to your ex-in-laws. Therefore, if you were to pass away under this fact pattern, had not updated your will, and are divorced from your spouse, your ex-in-laws are going to inherit.

In Minnesota, a divorce also automatically revokes your ex-spouse as a beneficiary. For example, it automatically revokes your ex-spouse as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy and your qualified or nonqualified retirement plan. However, the divorce decree could require you to keep the beneficiary designations. The statutory automatic revocation does not alleviate you from your obligations under the divorce decree.

If you are divorced and have not updated your estate plan, including your beneficiaries, now is the time to do so.

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP advises clients on estate planning, including the impact of a divorce on your current estate plan.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.