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How Divorce Effects Your Estate Plan

At Morris Hall, we recommend that you review your estate plan regularly to ensure that your plan reflects any changed circumstances since its execution. One of those circumstances we often see is divorce. Whether you have a will or a trust, if you are recently divorced, or are in the process of getting a divorce, you need to update your plan.

Many states have statutes that prohibit an ex-spouse from inheriting under a will created during marriage.  In Arizona, a will remains valid after a divorce, but the ex-spouse is disqualified as a beneficiary. Arizona law also revokes provisions in a revocable living trust executed prior to the divorce that distributes assets to the ex-spouse. Although many people would find these outcomes satisfactory, the situation may become complicated if the divorce occurs in one state, but the estate plan is governed by another state’s laws.

After a divorce it is also important to update your beneficiary designations on financial instruments such as life insurance policies, stocks, and other assets. Before doing so, thoroughly review your divorce decree to confirm that such changes are in compliance to avoid potential legal consequences. Furthermore, the assets awarded to you, and the manner in which they were acquired, can pose serious tax consequences. The assets posing the largest potential for tax consequences include real estate, personal property, retirement plans, and other appreciated assets. Thus, you should carefully consider the manner in which assets are to be divided.

If you are recently divorced or are in the process of getting a divorce, contact the law offices of Morris Hall to schedule a consultation.

Phoenix, AZ Estate and Trust Lawyer Darren RichardsonContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

One Comment

  • My ex-wife, Kem, and I have been divorced since March of 2008. While married, your firm prepared an irrevocable living trust for us. I’ve never given it any thought. Would you be able to give a short consultation at no cost?

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