According to Business Insider the three most important documents for every American to have include a last will and testament, a living will, and a durable power of attorney. And while every American should have these documents, not every American will have them under the same circumstances. Life can change, and with divorces being part of the picture more frequently, so can your last will and testament.
It is easy to think of a will as something absolute and unchangeable, but even marriages can be dissolved thanks to divorce laws. How can this affect your last will and testament? Keep reading to find out.
In the event of a divorce, most states will nullify any gifts the will makes to a former spouse. This includes any property or estate-based assets. This means that in the majority of cases, property is distributed as if the former spouse had died before the will was ever written.
That being said, a divorce certainly is not a guarantee that property and assets dedicated in a will are nullified. To be safe, it is important that a spouse contacts their estate planning attorneys to have their will changed accordingly after a divorce. This will ensure that no property gets into the hands of someone the writer of a will would not want it to.
What if the divorce was pending?
If a death occurs while a couple is in the process of a divorce, most states still honor what the original will dictates. In these cases, it is as if the divorce never happened and the couple was still married at the time of the death of one spouse. Even though this may not be what the deceased wanted, it is often a process dictated by estate and divorce laws.
Whether you are in the process of divorce or you want to file for divorce, it is important to keep your last will and testament in mind. Divorce and other life changes can have a serious effect on documents like this, and it is your responsibility to change them accordingly.