October 28, 2008

After Divorce: Wills, Beneficiaries or Trustees

Most family lawyers know that many people (although not nearly enough) who are married, prepare and execute wills, living wills, healthcare powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents. 

Generally, spouses will name each other as the beneficiary of their respective wills, healthcare representatives, and so on. Spouses also frequently designate each other as beneficiaries in their life insurance policies. Amazingly, most people when their marriage is heading towards a breakup do not change these documents and delete their spouses as beneficiaries or trustees after divorce. If your relationship with your spouse is particularly ugly, you probably don’t want your spouse making medical care decisions for you. Even if your marriage is ending in a friendly fashion, it seems unfair to put your spouse in the position of making that type of decision and, potentially, being second-guessed by your other family members.

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Many divorce attorneys can recount the horrors of clients who have not changed, or have not attempted to change, the beneficiaries of their insurance policies from the names of their former spouses after divorce. Consequently, Rule No. 1 if you’re getting divorced or have recently been divorced is to change your estate planning documents immediately. A close second would be that you also should arrange for the changing of your named beneficiaries in your insurance policies, unless the court order provides otherwise.

This is a classic case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312. 


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