How Does Divorce Impact Your Will Beneficiary Designations

Will Beneficiary Designation: What Happens in Divorce

Happily ever after rarely turns out how it is depicted on the big screen.

It starts great, but over time there is trouble in paradise. Despite your best efforts, it might not work out.

Divorce happens. And, if it is happening to you, you will want to know how it affects your will beneficiary designations.

Divorce and Will Beneficiary Designation

The last thing on your mind might be your death. But, your will and beneficiary designation is a serious part of your divorce. Take the time to do some proper estate planning.

Your Beneficiary Designation Comes First

You have updated your will to remove your ex. But, that is not enough. You must update the beneficiary designation, too.

Not only on your will but on all your other policies, too.

On your death, a designated beneficiary always comes first. It will not matter what your will says. Your estate will pay out to the beneficiary, even if it is your former spouse.

Check these documents to be sure your beneficiaries are up to date after divorce:

  • Will
  • Investments
  • Annuities
  • Trusts or Living Trusts
  • Life Insurance
  • Work-related Policies and Death Benefits

Remember, if you do not name anyone the state gets to decide. Take control of your assets by naming a beneficiary of your own choice.

What About the Will?

What about your will, though? Should you update it?

The answer is yes, though it is not as crucial as your beneficiary designation.

Most of the states in the US will do one of two things. If you leave your ex in your will, they will determine them to be ineffective or revoke their rights. Either way, they get no part of your assets.

Keep in mind this only applies to an ex-spouse. Not their children or any other relatives you may have named.

Do yourself a favor. Update it, anyway. It is good for your peace of mind.

Review and Update After Divorce

The only way to know for sure that your assets get divided as you want is to say so. Review and update both your will and your beneficiary designations after your divorce.

But, who should you choose?

If you have young children, you may want to consider a trust. Choose a close family member to oversee it. Your parents or siblings can be good choices.

If you have a new partner, you will need to decide if you have reached that level of commitment. Let your emotions settle, first. Use caution in designating a new partner soon after your divorce.

It is a good idea to consult an attorney if you have questions.

Take Charge of Your Assets, Today

Divorce is another stage in your life.  Do not leave the distribution of your assets to fate or the state.

Determine your own distribution of assets. Update your will beneficiary designation, today.

Need estate advice in Idaho or Washington state? Contact us, here.

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Written by Randi Johnson

Randi Johnson

When I get up in the morning, I express my Gratitude. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my family and our community. I wake each day with a purpose – to preserve and restore Joy. That’s it; it’s really that simple. I get to help people support their family through estate planning! And I represent clients and Veterans in disability claims.