Estate considerations following divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, September 13, 2018.

Often in the immediate aftermath of a divorce, people in Springfield will scamper to try and locate any financial accounts or holdings they might have shared with their ex-spouses in order to update them to reflect their new circumstances. The motivation behind this is likely the fear that if they do not (and something were to happen to them), then any properties once shared would go back to their ex-spouses (and thus not benefit their children or new spouses). Those who are among the 40 percent of people the American Association of Retired Persons reports as having already begun their estate planning might think to include their wills amongst those items that need to be updated.

While revising one’s will after his or her divorce may be a good strategy, it is technically unnecessary (if one’s sole concern is to keep his or her ex-spouse from inheriting his or her money). That is because (according to Section 474.420 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes), any provisions made in one’s will related to his or her spouse are automatically revoked once his or her divorce becomes finalized. From a legal perspective, it would be as though the ex-spouse preceded the decedent in death.

While one does not have to worry about his or her ex inheriting his or her assets, that may not necessarily mean that consideration should not be given to his or her ex in a will. Divorced parents with minor children (or dependent adult children) may want to restructure their wills to leave their assets to their kids, and to name their ex-spouses as trustees to help manage those funds until the children reach the point of being adequately able to do so themselves.

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