What Should I Know About My Estate Plans After My Nevada Divorce?
Divorce throws a wrench into many different plans. One many people do not consider is the area of estate planning. After a divorce, estate planning instruments like wills automatically change or are even revoked, and it is critical that you be aware of this, so you know what must be changed or redone after your divorce is final.
Bequests Are Withdrawn
By far one of the most important things to be aware of is that, under Nevada law, every “devise, beneficial interest or designation to serve as personal representative” previously conferred on a now-former spouse is automatically revoked upon divorce. In other words, if you named your ex as your personal representative, or gave assets to them in your will prior to the divorce, divorce automatically rescinds those gifts. The rationale is to protect the testator’s assets, and ensure that the assets do not unintentionally go to people as a result of an unintentional failure to revise a will.
It is possible to preserve bequests for your ex-spouse; however, you must specifically do this. Under the relevant law, after a divorce, your will will be read as if your ex-spouse has predeceased you; without a specific agreement. Otherwise, the court will presume that revocation was your intention. Given that the testator’s intent is a top priority for the court, the evidence against the presumption must be explicit or at the very least must provide sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption.
Beneficiaries Must Change
The other estate planning instrument that people often neglect after a divorce is retirement accounts and life insurance policies. These instruments pass down to a named beneficiary by operation of law – for example, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs many accounts, and requires that a beneficiary be named to receive the funds from the account upon the holder’s passing.
The only way to change one’s beneficiary in many of those cases is to do so affirmatively, usually by completing a form available from your lender or plan administrator. However, many people labor under the misapprehension that they can unilaterally change their beneficiary with a directive in their will, and this is not the case. Some types of retirement plans actually require spousal consent to change the beneficiary, such as a 401(k). Being aware that you cannot make changes without dealing with the plan administrator or lender is helpful and saves you time that your family might otherwise waste in probate.
Contact A Nevada Divorce Attorney
There are so many details one has to remember during divorce; estate planning can very easily fall down the list. Contacting an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney can be helpful in terms of learning how your divorce can impact your wills, trusts, and other estate documents going forward. The Kainen Law Group has years of experience in these matters, and is pleased to work for you. Call our Las Vegas offices today to schedule an appointment.