Can Your Former Spouse Still Inherit Money?

There are some situations in which your former spouse might inherit assets from your estate if you’re not careful with your estate planning strategy. The major concern in this area is to consider updating your beneficiaries on your retirement plan.

This often-forgotten document is very important after you get divorced because failing to update it could legally entitle your ex-spouse to assets from your estate. This is true even if you have updated other aspects of your estate plan such as your will.

The primary reason for this is that your retirement assets pass outside of your traditional probate process, meaning that the company managing your retirement assets must distribute them to the party named on your insurance beneficiary paperwork.

You should do an annual review of your beneficiary designation forms to make sure that these are up to date with all of the most important information. Failing to do so could mean that your spouse is legally entitled to receive that money without any problems. This could mean that the loved ones you intended to receive those assets are blocked from doing so, and if you do not trust your former spouse to pass on these assets through an act of goodwill, you need to be prepared by reviewing your beneficiary designation forms and making updates any time there are changes to your life.

If you’ve gotten divorced or haven’t revisited your estate plan in some time, consider this a reminder that you can update your plan to align with your own needs. Our Pasadena estate planning lawyers work directly with you to create a strategy that aligns with your personal goals no matter what your life circumstances.

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