October 11, 2018
Creating an Estate Plan should not be something you do once and then place the documents in a drawer to never look at again. An Estate Plan is something that should change and evolve as your life changes and evolves. When drafting an initial Estate Plan, we try to consider all foreseeable changes that can occur in our lifetimes, but this is nearly an impossible task. Most people’s lives don’t look the same today as they did 10 years ago. The following life events should trigger a review of your Estate Plan: change in marital status (discussed in this blog post), birth or adoption of a child, move to another state, substantial inheritance or increase in income, and children becoming adults.
Whether you are getting married or getting divorced, it is essential to review your current Estate Plan. Marriage alone is not an event that revokes a Will. If you executed a Will prior to getting married, it will need to be revised after you get married to provide for your new spouse. Failure to revise your Will after marriage may mean that your spouse will not be adequately provided for in the event of your death.
Divorce automatically revokes dispositions of property in your Will that were made to your now ex-spouse unless the Will provides otherwise. It also revokes provisions naming your ex-spouse as executor, trustee, or conservator or guardian unless the document provides otherwise. These automatic revocation provisions may reflect your intent after you get divorced, but they also may not. You may still be good friends with your ex-spouse and want him or her to continue to be the executor of your Will, you also may want to name someone else. Either way, it is best to review your Estate Plan after a divorce and make sure it still reflects your current intent.