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Should you leave your ex-spouse in your estate plan following divorce?

When you get a divorce, one of the first things you’ll do is update your estate plan to remove your spouse from it. Your now ex-spouse usually will not remain in your estate plan unless there is a specific reason that you would like to keep them on as a beneficiary in the future.

You do have the option to keep your ex in your estate plan. Whether or not you should do this depends on your divorce decree and any other arrangements that you have in place. For example, if you have a prenuptial agreement that stated that you would keep them as a beneficiary if you divorced, then you may need to hold up your end of that arrangement.

Another time when you may want to keep your ex in your estate plan is if you are on good terms and want to give them inheritance rights of some kind. For instance, if you both worked together and continue to work together on your business following your divorce, you may leave them your portion of the business upon death or create plans to leave a trust open for them as a business partner or friend.

Should you leave your ex-spouse in your estate plan?

This depends on your current relationship, any agreements you have and if you believe that your ex-spouse should benefit from your estate when you pass away. Sometimes, it’s better to remove them from the estate plan completely and to handle your relationship with them in other ways. For instance, if you’d like to leave them a property following your death because you know it will help them provide for your children or grandchildren, then you may consider gifting that property to them during life in other ways.

Your attorney can go over what would happen if you left your ex-spouse in your plan or if you removed them, so you can have a better idea of which is the right choice for you. Every situation is different, so what works for you may not be right for others. It’s up to you to create the plan that benefits those you care about, even if you happened to have divorced them.