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Why should you amend your will after your divorce?

You divorce in Clinton Township forces you to examine nearly every aspect of your marital life. Such a process can be extremely emotionally and mentally taxing, which is why it is not surprising so many only review those issues that they are expressly told to address. Consequently, one area that is often overlooked is that of estate planning. Say that, during your marriage, you and your spouse took the commendable step of creating a will together. The terms of your will may often not be brought up during your divorce proceedings. If, then, you never amend your will before you die, does your ex-spouse remain your beneficiary? 

Per Michigan law, the answer to that question is no. According to the Michigan Legislature, the terms of any governing instrument granting the right to a distribution of property to your spouse is automatically revoked when you divorce. Any provisions granting him or her powers of appointment (such as naming him or her your personal representative) is also revoked. Your divorce also revokes any distributions or appointments created for your spouse's relatives. It also goes without saying that any state law that would entitle your ex-spouse to any portion of your assets upon your death (e.g., intestate succession) does not apply after you divorce. 

Notice, however, that no mention is made of any children you and your ex-spouse may share. It is assumed that you still will want to see to their well-being. However, this also highlights the need to revisit your will after your divorce. If only your children from your first marriage remain as valid beneficiaries in your will, your current spouse and any children you had with him or her may be excluded from inheriting your assets. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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