Going through a divorce or separation takes a great emotional and mental toll on a person. It is arguably one of the most emotionally demanding events of a person’s life, and leads to a state of turmoil. Adding to this stress, is the issue of updating wills after divorce or separation.
What many do not realise is that along with impacting your relationship status, a divorce or separation can also impact Wills, and trusts and estate planning.
It is difficult to be thinking about secondary things like Wills and estate planning when going through a separation. But, it is essential to prepare yourself to do so, and this article will discuss the importance of updating Wills after divorce or separation.
In Australia, if you have a Will in place before you were married, the Will gets nullified when you marry.
Upon marriage, it is important to create a new Will, otherwise it is likely that your spouse will receive a large portion of your estate.
Many a times this will lead to unnecessary, and stressful disputes in the future, especially if you have children from your previous marriage.
In updating your Will after divorce, it would be ideal to remove your ex-spouse as beneficiary/executor (if he/she was nominated as the executor) of your Will. If this change is not made, your ex-spouse may be entitled to receive your assets and part of your estate after you pass away.
State Legislation Differences
In some states in Australia, in cases of divorce, the Wills of both parties become invalid. Whereas in some other states, a divorce leads to the revocation of the ex-spouse as the executor of deed, and disregards any gift or portion of estate that they were initially entitled to.
You need to take appropriate actions based on which state’s legislation applies to your case.
A List To Help You With Estate Planning/ Updating Wills After Divorce
When going through a divorce or separation, each party has some legal obligation towards the other. However, you have the right to modify all prevalent estate plans, to ensure that you don’t face any financial hurdles in the future.
Some steps you can follow after a divorce/separation: –
Updating Wills After Divorce Or Separation
As discussed above, it is important to update all provisions that were previously specified in the Will. In case of any revocations, the relevant party must be informed.
Life Insurance Beneficiaries
It is prudent to change your life insurance beneficiaries, especially because it is very common to nominate spouses as primary beneficiaries. In case of change in relationship status, it is important to remember to change previous nominations.
Create Trust For Estate Planning
It is best to seek advice from solicitors to create trusts for estate planning. This is because a trust may protect beneficiaries from claims made by creditors or may prevent the assets held in the trust being deemed as an asset for the purposes of distribution in family law proceedings.
Joint Assets Re-Title
Joint Assets can include things like properties, cars, etc. You can retitle these assets to avoid disputes in the future.
Essentially it is important to have a family lawyer help you navigate estate planning procedures following a divorce or separation.
The thought of divorce impacting your Wills and estate plans does not come naturally when dealing with separations. But it is better to deal with these matters sooner than later.
Having the help of a solicitor will help you handle the emotional stress of the divorce or separation, while also having a practical outlook, and completing the necessary processes, like revising Wills, and estate planning.
At JB Solicitors, our expert team of Wills and estate planning specialists, and family law specialists are here to guide you through these processes.
Contact our friendly and experienced solicitors today.