Estate planning experts in Georgia recommend that people initiate the estate planning process early on in their adult lives. Those who heed this advice put themselves ahead of the game when it comes to seeing to their long-term needs. Yet the action of writing a will or setting up a trust does not signal the end of the estate planning process.
Indeed, life events will necessitate that one update their estate plans. For example, should one get a divorce after having written their will (a real possibility given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Georgia having a divorce rate of 2.5 per 1000 residents), they should revisit their estate plans (given that their ex-spouse likely features heavily in them).
The effect of divorce on a will
Many people may assume that if one who goes through a divorce does not immediately update their estate plans, their ex-spouse would still stand to inherit their assets should they die. Yet is that truly the case? Per Section 53-4-49 of the Georgia Code, one’s divorce automatically revokes any provisions in an estate plan that reference their ex-spouse (such as bequeathals of property or nominations to administrative roles in one’s estate). In legal terms, it would be as those the ex-spouse preceded the decedent in death.
Why keep an ex-spouse in one’s estate plan?
Yet one should consider whether completely removing their ex-spouse from their estate plan is in their best interest. Should they have young children with their ex-spouse, they may want to consider naming their ex-spouse as a trustee over whatever assets they leave to their children (with the assumption that the ex-spouse would be as interested in their children’s long-term financial success as they are).