It is difficult to stress the importance of making sure that all of the loose ends are tied up after you have gone through a divorce and it is finalized. Though it is important for all areas of your life, it is especially important when it comes to your estate plan.
In most cases a former spouse will automatically be exempt from inheriting, even if you were to forget to update your will. The problem with this is that the assets that you intended for that spouse to inherit will then not have anyone named as the beneficiary. What happens in this case is that the court will decide who should inherit those assets. If there is someone that you would want to inherit the assets that you left to your former spouse, it is best to update your will as soon as your divorce is final.
Another thing that you’ll want to pay close attention to after you are divorced is your real estate, retirement accounts and life insurance. You will want to ensure that all of the assets that you are awarded in your divorce have been titled correctly; it is not a good idea to wait to take your spouse’s name off of the titled assets. If something were to happen to you before you took care of this, your former spouse would have full legal right to these assets.
Jointly owned real estate that is titled in a way that allows the property to pass to the other owner automatically is not subject to probate so there will be no way in which your heirs could contest the transfer of the property to your former spouse. The same is true for financial accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance where your former spouse is listed as the beneficiary.
When you are putting your life back together after a divorce it can be easy to forget all of these technicalities, but it is essential that you do. Make updating your accounts; policies and estate plan a part of the process of reforming your life. This way you can be sure that the person that you would like to inherit your assets is the one that does.