Divorce may seem to bring with it a certain sense of finality, yet in reality, it sparks the need for a wide array of actions. One that many in Delaware (including possible you) often overlook is the need to update their estate plan. Panic may then ensue years later when you discover that your ex-spouse is still a part of your will.
This obviously prompts the question of if, were you to die before updating it, you ex-spouse stands to inherit your estate? That is a valid concern, yet not the only thing you should consider when updating your will after your divorce.
The effect of divorce on estate plans
Addressing the first concern specifically, you do not need to worry about your ex-spouse inheriting your estate after your divorce (provided you do not still want them to). Section 209 of Delaware’s code detailing Decedents’ Estates and Fiduciary Relations states upon the finalization of your divorce, any provisions in your will benefiting your ex-spouse are automatically revoked, including:
- Any disposition or appointment of property
- Any provision concerning a general or special power of appointment on your ex-spouse
- Any nominations designating your ex-spouse to a role in the administration of your estate
The only scenario in which this would not automatically occur would be you including specific language that protects against it.
Finding a role for your ex-spouse in your estate
Why would you want to keep your ex-spouse in your estate plans? There may indeed be situations where it could be beneficial. If, for example, you have young children, you may want to name your ex-spouse as a trustee over the assets you leave then in case you die prior to them reaching adulthood. Your shared interests in your kids’ success may make them the ideal person for such a role.