Can My Ex Get Some of My Estate?

POSTED ON: April 26, 2022

Resist the urge to use your will for vengeance

Can My Ex Get Some of My Estate?

For many people, their will is their final communication to the world.

A will states how their property should be distributed upon their death. CNBC’s recent article entitled “Your ex-spouse could inherit your money. How to avoid this and other estate-planning mistakes” says that depending on how you plan, it may have a few some surprises for those who are close to you.

There are a couple of situations where you could inadvertently leave money to people you no longer intend as heirs, much to the surprise of other heirs.

An ex-spouse could get some of your money when you die, if you do not update your beneficiaries under a retirement plan.

Divorce does not automatically change a beneficiary designation, unless the divorce decree includes a stipulation to change it. IRAs are the same, so it is not uncommon for an IRA owner to die without having changed the beneficiary designation after a divorce. It’s usually just a simple oversight.

However, Louisiana law provides that once a married couple is divorced, ex-spouses lose all property rights under the will, even if the will leaves everything to the ex-spouse.

However, pensions are governed by federal law, formally known as ERISA or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. As a result, state rules do not apply.

Pensions are not the only accounts that people tend to forget to update. Bank account Payable on Death designations are often hard to find, and circumstances may change from when you first set them up.

To ensure your wishes are carried out the way you want, work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

BOOK A CALL with me, Ted Vicknair, Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist, Board Certified Tax Law Specialist, and CPA to learn more about estate planning, incapacity planning, and asset protection.

If you liked this article, “Can My Ex Get Some of My Estate?” read also these additional articles: Will Eating More Fish Help Me Stay Healthy? and What’s the Best Way to Mess Up Estate Plan? and How Does a Trust Fund Work? and Does Quality of Neighborhood have an Impact on Developing Dementia?

Reference: CNBC (Jan. 9, 2022) “Your ex-spouse could inherit your money. How to avoid this and other estate-planning mistakes”

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