Although you have enough things to worry about when you get a divorce, make sure that your will is on the list. Your divorce order and your feelings toward your ex will have an impact on the terms of your will.
Depending on your circumstances, you may either need to modify your will or rewrite it completely. Talk to an estate planning attorney to find out which you should do and to make sure you have made all necessary updates.
North Carolina law on wills and divorce
Divorce in North Carolina automatically revokes the parts of the will in favor of your former spouse, including an appointment as executor of the estate or guardian of children. The rest of the will remains in effect. However, the law does not apply until your divorce is final, so it is wise to change your will before then. Destroy your former will to ensure there is no confusion or dispute over which is the current and valid one.
Sections to change
Once your marriage is over, you should review and revise the following terms of your will:
- Who the beneficiaries are and how much they will receive
- Who will represent your estate
- Whom you will give financial power of attorney
- Who will be the guardian of your children
The asset division in your divorce agreement will determine some of the asset distribution in your will. Likewise, unless your ex has given up rights to your children, they may end up with that parent if you die. Guardianship is only relevant when both parents are deceased.
Other estate plans to change
Your will is not the only estate plan your divorce will affect. You may also need to alter your medical power of attorney, trusts and any other relevant legal documents and accounts. These changes are critical and intended to ensure the protection of your rights and wishes.