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Estate considerations following a divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Divorce

One’s divorce in Michigan should certainly force them to review a number of different aspects of their life. Yet in all of the emotion that accompanies the dissolution of a marriage, one’s estate plans may be the furthest thing from their minds.

That is if one has any estate plans at all (indeed, according to information shared by Gallup, less than half of American adults even have a will). Those who do, however, may certainly want to consider how their divorce affects the role their now ex-spouse has in their estate.

The effect of divorce on a will

Yet what is one does not? When the loved ones of one who dies without updating their will following their divorce learn of this, they may assume that their ex-spouse still stands to inherit their estate. Yet that is not the case. According to Section 700.2807 of Michigan’s Compiled Laws, one divorce effectively revokes any of the following:

  • Any disbursements of assets or property made to their ex-spouse
  • Any powers of appointment conferred upon their ex-spouse
  • Any nominations to administrative roles regarding their ex-spouse

From a legal perspective, it would be as though their spouse preceded them in death.

Is there still a role for an ex-spouse in one’s estate?

Yet with the fear of one’s ex-spouse inadvertently inheriting their estate dispelled, one may still want to consider whether removing them entirely is truly in their best interest. For example, after one’s spouse, their most likely beneficiaries might be their children. Yet if their children are still minors, one may want to name their ex-spouse as trustee over whatever assets they leave to their kids (assuming their ex-spouse also has the kids’ best interests at heart). One can stipulate that such a role would end once their kids reach the age of majority.