How your Divorce can Affect your Estate Plan


The effects a divorce can have on your will, trust or estate plan can be easily disregarded when dealing with the many issues surrounding litigation. Under New York law, property promised to your ex-spouse in a last will and testament, or revocable trust will be revoked upon the issuance of a judgment of divorce. Ultimately, your ex-spouse will be considered to have predeceased you. A revocable trust means that if you could have revoked your will or trust during your life, then a divorce will likely nullify the provisions concerning your ex-spouse. For example, if your ex-spouse was named as beneficiary in your will and you failed to change the will before your death, your ex-spouse will receive nothing, and your assets will go to the alternate beneficiaries named in your will.


It is normal to think that if you get divorced, your spouse should not be entitled to your assets upon death. However, in some cases, spouses separate on amicable terms and leave each other as beneficiaries for the purpose of care and support of the surviving ex-spouse or minor children. While, this desire may not be recognized under New York estate law, it is important to consult with your attorney to make sure your intentions are properly reflected.

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