Though many marriages end in divorce, it does not mean that a divorced individual will never find love again. In fact, many people in Michigan and elsewhere go on to remarry after a divorce and find happiness in that relationship for the rest of their lives. While this may seem like a picture-perfect ending, it is important to remember that if two people with children from previous marriages become a blended family, their estate plans will likely need to change.
If a person created an estate plan before his or her divorce, it is likely that the person named that first spouse to vital positions in that plan. For example, it is common to name a spouse as the beneficiary to retirement accounts or as a power of attorney agent. If a person does not update those designations, an ex-spouse might still be legally entitled to those funds and hold those positions of power (depending on applicable state laws), which most people do not want after a divorce. As a result, updating designations after divorce and again after remarriage is essential.
While not updating these appointments could wreak havoc, the following other problems could as well:
- Holding on to all funds in order for them to be distributed after the person’s passing rather than making gifts of assets while still alive
- Dividing assets equally among family members, especially children, even when it might not be the best option for those involved
- Not updating a will to ensure that new family members are included and that an ex-spouse has been removed
Though no one knows what a person’s wishes are better than the person him or herself, it is important to remember that trying to create estate plans on one’s own is not always the best option. It is all too easy to not fully understand Michigan laws for a valid plan or to make errors that render a plan far from what the person intended. As a result, individuals needing to update their plans or create new plans may want to seek help from legal professionals as they do so.