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Impacts of divorce on beneficiaries in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Divorce Law, Estate Planning

Estate planning is a difficult process that many Pennsylvania residents might not want to revisit. However, the decision to not revisit your estate plan or make updates can cause headaches for your remaining family members after you pass away.

How divorce can impact your estate plan

There are many ways that divorce can impact your last will and testament. For example, if you re-marry and want your new spouse and stepchildren to be taken care of, you’ll need to update your estate plan to include them.

Unless you adopt your stepchildren or add them to your will, they will have no legal claim to your assets after you’ve passed. The hope is that your children or other beneficiaries would work to include them, but there’s no guarantee of that happening.

You will also want to update your will to write out your ex-spouse, or at least you’ll want to update the language to include your new spouse. There can be some pretty dire consequences for not updating your beneficiary.

What happens if you don’t update your spouse beneficiary?

If your estate plan hasn’t been updated to either remove your ex-spouse or include your new spouse, it can cause a lot of confusion. It also opens the door for someone to contest your will or estate plan.

In Pennsylvania, not updating this section of your estate plan could lead to neither spouse qualifying for assets or benefits after your death. In addition, this ruling will also impact:

  • Life insurance payouts
  • Pension payouts
  • Profit-sharing plans

When to update your estate plan

It’s important that you update the beneficiaries in your estate plan after any major life changes, such as divorce, death or the birth of a new family member. It could be difficult to make these changes but doing so can ensure your loved ones are taken care of with no surprises.



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