Does A Divorce Affect My Will in Massachusetts?

Does A Divorce Affect My Will in Massachusetts?

A divorce can impact various aspects of your life, but many people in Massachusetts do not fully understand the effect it can have on their wills. Even after your passing, a divorce can still influence how the estate planning process is handled. Becoming aware of these potential impacts is the first step in addressing any potential issues down the line.

Juggling child custody battles, the division of assets, and the arrangement of spousal support can be overwhelming as you go through a separation. That being said, it is also important to put aside some time to consider how your divorce will affect your will.

This process becomes much easier when you enlist the help of a qualified, experienced divorce attorney. These legal experts can address virtually any issue that might arise as you go through a divorce, including those related to the estate planning process.

The Uniform Probate Code Massachusetts

In 2009, Massachusetts adopted the Uniform Probate Code, and this piece of legislation dictates what happens to your will after a divorce. Among other things, the Uniform Probate Code prevents a will from being automatically revoked by a marital union.

A Divorce Automatically Removes Your Ex From the Will

Thanks to the Uniform Probate Code, your former spouse will be automatically removed from your will after the divorce is finalized. They will no longer act as a beneficiary to any will or trust that you have put in place, and the UPC also revokes things like revocable trusts, health care proxies, and durable powers of attorney. In many ways, the UPC makes things more convenient because you do not have to manually remove your ex from your will and trusts.Why You Might Still Need to

Remove Your Spouse Manually

Although having your former spouse removed from your will or trust is certainly convenient, relying on this automatic system is not always the correct path. Former spouses are only removed from wills and trust when the divorce is finalized, and long-winded, contentious divorces can take years to finalize in some cases.

Because of this, it often makes sense to to remove your spouse from wills and trust as soon as you separate. Consider what might happen if you pass away before the divorce is finalized. Even though your relationship with your former spouse would be over at the time of your passing, they would still act as a beneficiary and inherit all the assets and properties that you have outlined in your will or trust.

This is obviously something most people want to avoid, and you can address this issue by manually revoking your spouse’s rights as a beneficiary with the help of a qualified attorney. In addition, this will give you the opportunity to completely update other aspects of your will, such as power of attorney and healthcare proxies. If you do not address these issues, your former spouse could still have access to your healthcare information long after your divorce. They may also retain control over certain financial assets, like IRAs or 401Ks.

Getting Legal Help

If you need help updating your will after a divorce in Massachusetts, reach out to the Law Offices of Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty today.