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Does divorce impact estate planning?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Divorce

If someone writes a valid will, the probate court would likely follow the directives in the document even if the will was written many years ago. A relative or another heir may challenge a will in a South Carolina probate court if the document appears to reflect decisions made before a divorce. Someone going through divorce should consider making changes to their will and other estate planning documents.

Making changes to a will

A person’s life may change dramatically after a divorce. Someone may have a child from a previous marriage and a new child from the current marriage. Do provisions exist to leave anything to the younger child in the current will? If not, then the will might be past due for changes.

Similarly, anything left to a previous spouse might still go to that person if the will isn’t changed. The ex-spouse might have little trouble receiving assets in a jointly held account or if he or she stands as a named beneficiary to a financial account.

Ultimately, those who fail to make changes to financial accounts, wills, power of attorney contacts, health care proxies and other estate planning documents leave the original decisions in place. A legal disaster may follow when someone wants to challenge those documents because the testator or grantor passed away or is incapacitated.

Reviewing the original documents

Estate planning often involves reviews, revisions and alterations. Someone may come into considerable wealth, adopt a child, purchase a home and go through other life changes. It’s helpful to perform an annual estate review along with an audit of assets and obligations. This way, everything is up to date.

An attorney may work with a client to ensure that their current estate plans reflect present-day decisions. A legal professional may help a client devise a comprehensive estate plan covering financial and health care matters.