Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

How divorce affects your will or trust

We've written before about the importance of having a will before. However, what happens if you don't change the beneficiary of your assets after you get a divorce?

Forgetting to alter your will or trust after a divorce could be an expensive mistake. After a divorce any portion of a will listing the ex-spouse as a beneficiary would be revoked, however, it only takes effect until the divorce is final not during the proceedings. As such, if one of the spouses were to die during the proceeding then the will would be in effect under the law.


The automatic revocation could leave your assets vulnerable if the designated beneficiary is not changed to another family member. So it's also important to list a new beneficiary in order to avoid having your estate go through the courts as if there was no will in place.

Some assets with a beneficiary are not automatically revoked after a divorce. Retirement investments and life insurance are just two examples of accounts that will need to be changed in order to avoid leaving the money to an ex.

A divorce proceeding is stressful enough to think about without having to worry about changing a will, trust or other policy. However, just like setting up the will or trust will help secure your family's future, so will changing the beneficiary name on those assets.

An unchanged beneficiary on a life insurance policy could mean years of court fights between an ex-spouse and family members over the rightful owner of your policy. Luckily changing the designation is easy to do in most instances.  

For more information on divorces, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

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