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THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE AND YOUR ESTATE PLAN

The process of a divorce entails a variety of issues including: disposition of the marital estate, division of personal property, child custody and support determinations, etc. With so many issues requiring resolution, estate planning is likely to be the last thing on your mind. However, following a divorce, it is critical that you take the necessary steps in updating your estate planning documents. If you fail to do so, then upon your death, your assets could be distributed to individuals you neither expected nor wanted, including your ex spouse.

What happens to my will upon divorce?

Under Arizona law, following the finalization of a divorce, a divorced persons will remains valid, but your ex spouse is automatically disqualified as a potential named beneficiary. However, the finalization of a legal separation does not have the same effect. This so because unless otherwise sated in your decree of separation, a decree of separation does not terminate your marriage. As such, your ex spouse will not be automatically disqualified as a beneficiary under your will.

What happens to my Living Trust Upon Divorce?

Upon the finalization of a divorce, Arizona treats living wills similar to that of a will.

What happens to my Power of Attorney?

If your spouse is listed a financial and/or health care power of attorney, then he or she is automatically removed as a named agent upon finalization of a divorce. However, your power of attorney lists an alternate agent, then the document remains valid if said alternate is available and willing to serve.

Will my ex spouse automatically be removed as a beneficiary of my life insurance policy?

Under Arizona law, yes. However, in some cases, a divorced person may be required to name a ex spouse as the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. As such, this will require you to submit a new beneficiary designation to the insurance company. Otherwise, Arizona law will automatically remove that spouse as a beneficiary.

The process of a divorce and pre divorce planning can prove to be highly complicated and extremely stressful. Decisions made during this time period can have significant legal implications on the rest of your life. As such, it is strongly suggested that you seek the assistance of a qualified family law attorney to guide you through the process. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson will aggressively represent your interests in any family court proceeding. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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