The Impact of Divorce on your Last Will and Testament (Part Two)

Beneficiary Designations 

While the law effectively takes your spouse out of your will upon your divorce, you have other assets which pass through beneficiary designations rather than through a Last Will and Testament.  For example, if you have retirement funds, pensions, or life insurance you likely listed your spouse as the beneficiary on the forms and the divorce alone will not change the beneficiary designation.

Change Beneficiaries on Retirement Accounts, Life Insurance and Pensions

In order to change your beneficiary designation from your former spouse to someone else, you must contact each individual fund or insurance provider. You can change the beneficiary to specific people, or to a trust. You may need to provide documentation of your divorce. Each fund or insurance policy may have different requirements.

Following the division of the assets, you should change your beneficiary designation. If you have established a trust for the benefit of your children, you may also need to change the trustee designation if the designated trustee is your former spouse and you prefer to have someone else in charge of administering the trust.

Language in your Divorce Documents

Before making any changes to your beneficiary designations, you should carefully review your court order as it relates to beneficiaries or trusts.  In some cases, a spouse may be required to name a former spouse as beneficiary to secure future child support payments or spousal maintenance.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you sort through the tangled web of beneficiary designations and updating your will following a divorce. Contact us today at 973-841-5111 and know that your estate is in order.

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