What is the effect of a divorce on a will?

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Divorce Effect Will Wills Estate Planning

What is the effect of a divorce on a will?

The effect of divorce on a Will depends on your state’s law. In some states, a divorce decree automatically revokes your entire Will and in others, it revokes only those provisions that made gifts to the former spouse, not the whole Will. Sometimes the Will might be affected by the divorce agreement or the court decree, even if the Will provisions don’t relate to your former spouse. For example, if you had left your interest in the family home to one child and a stock portfolio to another and the divorce decree awards ownership of the family home to your ex-spouse, your Will would then leave nothing to one child and probably more than you intended to the other.

Parties getting a divorce should review their Wills to make sure the Wills are still in effect after the divorce and that the Wills still express what the parties want and cover changed financial situations. These parties should also review other estate planning devices such as trusts and property owned by joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, insurance policies, joint bank accounts, pay-on-death bank accounts, and so on. Never rely on the divorce agreement or decree to change these. It’s important to change the title to property, named beneficiaries, or account information for each piece of property or account. Contact the banks, insurance companies, pension plans, or property registration offices directly to change beneficiaries and property ownership. Trust provisions also have to be changed if your want to eliminate your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.

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