Estate Planning And Divorce
Let’s talk about Estate Planning and Divorce. Will a divorce affect your Will? Over the years, many people have asked us about how a divorce will affect a Will or Estate Plan. Sometimes the question comes out of curiosity, and at other times, the person asking has just gone through a divorce. The best time to review or establish an estate plan is after the occurrence of a major life event. In fact, these are often the only times many people even think about estate planning.
Major life events may include marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member. Unfortunately, divorce is also a major life.
Beneficiary and Executor Designations
Typically, married couples have their estate plans drafted at the same time, and the terms of each plan are very similar. More often than not, one spouse has named the other as the executor of his or her Estate, as well as the sole beneficiary of his or her Estate. While Tennessee law contains a statute that essentially disinherits a person’s spouse in the event of divorce, that statute does not affect beneficiary designations or the titling or re-titling of assets. Therefore, we do not advise that you rely on this statute alone.
In addition to reviewing your Will and other estate planning documents after a divorce, it is also important to review the ownership structure and beneficiary designations of any assets that will not pass under the terms of your Will, such as retirement plans or life insurance policies. Many assets, such as these, do not pass pursuant to the terms of a person’s Will, but rather will be distributed according to beneficiary designations.
Legal Guardians for Minor Children
In Tennessee, the only way to designate a legal guardian for a minor child in the event that something should happen to you is under the terms of your Will. The person you choose to designate as the guardian of your child while you are married may greatly differ from whom you would select to fulfill the role after a divorce.
Let us help you with Estate Planning and Divorce Issues
As you can see, it is extremely important to undergo a comprehensive review of your assets and estate plan in the event of a divorce. If you have recently experienced a divorce or other major life event, or if you would like us to create or review an estate plan for you, please call us at 901-372-5003. We’re ready to help you.