Your will or revocable living trust may indicate that if you are legally separated or divorced, your ex will be deemed to have predeceased you and cannot inherit from you. However, certain plan documents containing beneficiary designations Ė such life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, and pensions - do not have this same provision. These later plan documents rule and can result in your ex inheriting from you.
Update Your Beneficiary Designations
This means that if you are legally separated or divorced and you do not want your ex to receive the proceeds from your life insurance, retirement plan, pension, or annuities, you MUST update your beneficiary designation.
Wills and Trusts
Most people do think to update their wills and trusts, while beneficiary designations are frequently forgotten. And, as mentioned above, many (but not all) wills and trusts include language that if you are legally separated or divorced, your ex will not receive your assets.
Case after Case after Case
There are cases upon cases wherein beneficiary designations havenít been updated. The plan documents rule; unless the plan documents indicate otherwise, which they usually donít, your ex will receive the assets should you fail to update the beneficiary designation before you die.
Donít Wait to Update
Many people think that they must or should wait until the divorce is final before updating their estate planning documents. This is absolutely wrong. As soon as you are separated or preparing to separate, call your estate planning attorney and get good advice.
At that point in your marital relationship, it is unlikely that youíd want your ex to get your assets, manage your assets, or make health care decisions on your behalf. So, all of your estate planning documents will need to be updated, in addition to your beneficiary designations.
Get Good Advice
Some divorce attorneys offer to draft new wills for their divorce clients. However, you need more than a new will drafted by an attorney in another area of practice. It is in your best interest to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney for comprehensive estate planning, including the updating of beneficiary designations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kevin Pillion
Experienced estate planning attorneys Sarasota FL of the Co-Executor PLLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Sarasota FL.
Copyright Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
More information about Kevin Pillion - Co-Executor PLLC
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.