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What happens to a Will or Beneficiary Designations after a Divorce?

Divorce AgreementDivorce is a messy, emotional topic. It makes sense that parties involved want to get in and get out as quickly as possible, allowing them to put this difficult time behind them. However, it is important to make sure you cover all of your bases during the divorce process to make sure every last loose end is taken care of. For instance, what happens to a Will or beneficiary designations on your life insurance if you fail to change them from your former spouse after a divorce? Well, that depends on where you live.

  1. Maryland: Here in Maryland, bequests in a Will to former spouses are typically void following a divorce. However, a divorce will not void a distribution to your ex from a revocable trust or prevent them from taking under a life insurance policy or retirement account if they are named as the beneficiary.
  2. Virginia: In the state of Virginia, revocable beneficiary designations naming your former spouse are void for life insurance and annuities.
  3. Florida: In response to a host of litigation, Florida recently passed legislation that states that after a divorce or annulment, former spouses named as beneficiaries will be treated as if they predeceased the deceased in many non-probate assets, such as IRAs, life insurance, and qualified annuities.

A divorce agreement is not something that should be rushed through. While it may be uncomfortable and often times difficult for some to address, it is important to update estate documents and beneficiary designations following a divorce or separation. Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law: Estates, Trusts and Elder Law Practice Group At Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law, our Estates, Trusts and Elder Law Practice Group is dedicated to the design, documentation, and implementation of high-quality estate plans for individuals and families. We help you to the maximum extent possible, minimize the burden of gift and estate taxes, and protect your assets from the threat of preexisting and potential creditors. Our unique estate planning process takes your unique needs and challenges into consideration and helps ensure asset protection for future generations. If you have any questions about Estate Planning, please fill out the contact form found on to access the knowledgeable legal guidance that our experienced estate planning team of attorneys has to offer. We are a dynamic legal services provider assisting clients throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Our firm is well positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Sources: The Weekly Scenario from Steve Shane – 7.30.12