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Last Will & Testament

Divorced? Need to Know: How Your Former Spouse Can Inherit From You

As you age, you think you are in good shape. You've completed plans for your retirement funds and finalized your will. If you have been divorced, however, you may want to think again. You may have overlooked ways of how your former spouse can inherit from you!

Wills, for instance, don't have the final say about who gets the assets in your IRA or 401k. Lack of oversight regarding beneficiaries can result in your former spouse inheriting that money. In addition there are rules and laws which can also allow a former spouse to draw Social Security based on your earnings.

  • As changes occur in life, people often overlook changing beneficiaries on important accounts. Steps to do this may vary depending on changing employers and rules. For a current employer, simply request a change-of- beneficiary form from the company's human resources department.
  • To change the beneficiary on a 401k also requires a visit to the human resources department. To leave benefits to someone besides a spouse, you must present a paper signed by the spouse showing agreement to give up their beneficiary claim.
  • 401ks from previous employers need to be rolled over into an IRA with proper beneficiary forms.
  • All documents should have secondary beneficiaries named in case of death of the primary beneficiary first.
  • Federal laws also allow former spouses certain benefits from your Social Security and Military Retirement.

These areas involving financial planning are just some of the reasons it is a good idea to retain a good attorney for assistance. They understand the nuances of the laws regarding overall estate planning including wills, probate and updating beneficiaries. They know how to avoid disruption of your estate plans and reduce estate taxes.

The potential complexities of estate planning don't have to create anxiety for you. We can provide the knowledge, skills and help you need to assure everything is in order. Be sure to contact us soon for an appointment for a consultation.