Deciding to end your marriage may sound like a straightforward decision, but in reality, it isn’t. There are LOADS of things that you need to take care of when you get divorced. Some of them are more obvious – get a good attorney, figure out your custody arrangements, decide on how you’re going to divide up your assets and debts. But some of them are things that people often forget about in all the hustle and bustle of the divorce process. Things that are very important, and yet they so often slip through the cracks.
Most people who set up a will after they get married, name their spouse as the benefactor. And while different states have different laws in place to handle a will after someone gets divorced, in Michigan the law partially revokes your will. This means that, unless your divorce settlement specifically says otherwise, any gift or appointment made to an ex-spouse under a will, is automatically revoked when you get divorced.
So if you named your spouse as your sole beneficiary, when you die the probate court will treat your will as if your spouse died before you. However, this doesn’t revoke your entire will, only the parts dealing with your former spouse. So if you named your spouse’s child as benefactors as well, that would still stand after your divorce. Also, Michigan law only revokes language in a will that was signed prior to your divorce. After your divorce is final, we highly recommend that you create another will.
Just like with your will, Michigan’s revocation law applies to any document naming a former spouse to act in a “fiduciary or representative capacity.” This would include a conservator, guardian, or trustee. So if you don’t change your trust after your divorce is final, you don’t have to worry about your ex being named as your trustee. However, if your ex was named as your trustee, and Michigan’s revocation law voids that, you will have no one named as your trustee.
Not everyone has a trust, and if you choose not to, then this won’t affect you. However, if you do establish a trust, then not changing your ex-spouse as the trustee after your divorce means that in the event that something happens to you, and that is no named successor trustee, there will be no one named to manage, invest or distribute your assets. This can significantly complicate issues for you or your beneficiaries in the future.
Do you need advice from a skilled family law attorney?
Please join us next time for a discussion on the remaining two important documents that you need to update when you get divorced. Until then, if you or a loved one are considering divorce and need help with planning for your future, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled family law attorneys can help you work through every aspect of your divorce, from filing the initial documents, to wrapping up the final signatures, and everything in between!
If however, you’ve already started the process of your divorce, and need help with planning your estate, the skilled attorneys at The Kronzek Firm can help you with that as well. We have spent decades helping the people of Michigan prepare for their futures, and we can help you as well .