Marriage and estate planning go hand-in-hand, as such an event is certainly something that will affect who you would want inheriting your assets in the event of your death. The same is true with divorce. Upon the dissolution of your marriage in Saint Charles, you might also decide that you do not want your former spouse benefitting from your estate. However, our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law has met with countless clients whose family members or friends passed away without ever updating their wills following their divorces. Their questions are almost always the same: will the decedent's ex-spouse get everything?
Estate planning often goes overlooked, and lawmakers understand this. Thus, statutes have been enacted to account for a lack of planning on the part of a decedent. For example, Section 474.420 of Missouri's Probate Code says if you get a divorce following the creation of a will, any provisions that favor your ex-spouse are automatically revoked. In the eyes of the law, it would be as though he or she preceded you in death.
What if, however, you and your spouse are separated (pending a divorce) when you die? Since your marriage has not yet been legally dissolved, he or she would still be entitled to whatever your will stipulates. He or she would also be viewed as one of your heirs per the state's intestate succession guidelines. The only exception to this would be if he or she abandoned you or left you to pursue an adulterous relationship for a period of one year preceding your death, in which case all of his or her rights of inheritance would be forfeited.
You can learn more about when to amend your estate plans by continuing to explore our site.