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How does your divorce impact your estate plans?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Divorce |

It goes without saying that your divorce in Michigan prompts a number of significant changes in your life (many of which require you to immediately address). One that you may overlook, however, is your estate plans (assuming you have estate instruments already in place).

This may lead to the fear that if you fail to update your will or other estate planning documents, your ex-spouse stands to benefit from your estate upon your death. Yet is that truly the case?

The effect of divorce on an estate

According to the Michigan Estates and Protected Individuals Code, it is not. Indeed, this statute states that upon the formal completion of your divorce proceedings, the court views any of the following provisions of an estate planning instrument as invalid:

  • Dispositions of property
  • Any conferring of authority relative to your estate
  • Any nominations to administrative roles in your estate

This law classifies “administrative roles” as that of executor/personal representative, funeral representative, agent/conservator/guardian, or trustee.

A potential role for your ex-spouse in your estate plan?

This law should assuage your fears about your ex-spouse inheriting your assets. Yet this should also prompt the question of whether completely removing your ex-spouse from your estate plans is a good idea.

Say that you have young children. They likely become your preferred beneficiaries upon your divorce. Yet their age may make it unwise to directly had them your estate’s assets should you die unexpectedly. Your ex-spouse, however, may care just as much about their well-being as you do. Thus, naming them as a trustee over your children’s assets (until they reach the age of majority) may ultimately be in your kids’ best interest.