If you have written a will, you are doing better than many. According to one recent study, 68% of Americans do not yet have a will. Writing your will, of course, is only part of the estate planning process. You must also regularly review the document to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes and meet your needs.
While a divorce is likely to change your life in some predictable ways, you may not realize the end of your marriage may also affect your will.
When should you update your will?
To ensure your will and other estate planning documents continue to meet your needs, you should update them when you go through major life events. The same is true when there are legal or tax changes.
Here are some situations when revisiting your will is probably a good idea:
- You have a change in financial circumstances
- You move to a different state or country
- You have a change in your family makeup
What happens to your will when you divorce?
Because the end of your marriage means a change in your family makeup, you should review your will when you decide to file for divorce. While New Jersey has a statute that may remove your spouse from your will upon divorce, you probably do not want to risk putting your family through litigation.
If you do not change your beneficiary designation, your ex-husband or -wife may try to contest your will. Ultimately, updating your estate plan after your divorce is the easiest and most effective way to ensure your assets end up where you want them to be.