Divorce is traumatic and life-changing. In its aftermath, an important consideration is your plans for the future relating to your Will and Estate, along with any policies you may have in place.
Amending your Will post-divorce
According to Section 2B of the Wills Act, if you had a Will while you were married, then once you are divorced you have three months from the date of the Order of Divorce to amend or update your Will, specifically where it may relate to your ex-spouse. If you do not or choose not to change your existing Will and pass away without signing a new Will within the three month period stated above, then your existing Will remains in place; and you may have unwittingly or unintentionally have left your estate or a portion thereof to your ex-spouse!
Review all your policies and beneficiaries
It is also recommended that you conduct a thorough review of your existing policies and the related nominated beneficiaries. Sometimes a divorce order will dictate a beneficiary (as the policy may form part of such an order) such as a life insurance policy in which case you are unable to change your nominated beneficiaries. If this is not the case, then you will be in a position to change the policy beneficiaries.
Seeking legal advice on the best way to use a policy as a result of death is a good idea. Policies can create nest-eggs for young children or they can create liquidity in winding up an estate.
Speak to an expert
Discussing these affairs with an attorney after a divorce is often comforting as they can help you plan a way forward that suits your new life whilst making provision that the divorce order is honoured, even in death.
After any life-changing event, such as divorce, death, birth of a child or even a drastic change in financial circumstances, it is recommended that you retrieve your Will from its dusty box and review it in order to ensure that your loved ones are sufficiently provided for.
Originally published June 19, 2019
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.