Examining the impact of divorce on a will
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Examining the impact of divorce on a will

| Apr 29, 2019 | Divorce, Firm News |

While divorce does bring with it a sense of finality, it may not necessarily end one’s ties to their ex-spouse in Barboursville. Indeed, during one’s marriage, their spouse’s were typically joint partners in any matters related to both their emotional and financial well-being. Specifically referencing the latter, there are probably many accounts and financial instruments in which a divorced couple remains linked. A will, for example, may still list an ex-spouse among one’s beneficiaries. With Kiplinger’s Personal Finance reporting that the rate of divorced couples in their 50’s has doubled since 1990, the issue of estate planning following divorce is likely to gain more notoriety.

One might envision a nightmare scenario as them having remarried yet failing to update their will, leaving their ex-spouse’s in a position to benefit from their estates. The good news is that state law does not allow this. According to Section 41-1-6 of the West Virginia Code, a divorce automatically revokes any provisions in one’s will that reference their ex-spouse. This includes any language related to the following:

  • The transfer of assets or property
  • A nomination of the ex-spouse as executor, trustee or any other role of authority related to the estate’s administration
  • Any special powers of appointment

The fact that this law disinherits on ex-spouse should not deter one, however, from updating their will following their divorce. If one remarries or experiences any other major life events, they should amend their wills to accommodate for such happenings. One might also want to consider allowing their ex-spouse a role in their estates. If there is a concern about another beneficiary (such as a child or grandchild) mismanaging those assets afforded to them, one can place their ex-spouse in a position to serve as trustee of said assets in order to better preserve them.