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Family Law Pointer - Estate Planning in the Midst of a Divorce

Bear in mind that any account with a designated beneficiary does not pass according to the terms of your will, so whether getting divorced or not, you will want to make sure your beneficiary designations are in order. If you are getting divorced in Iowa, you may be thinking about updating your estate plan. Iowa law provides that unless reaffirmed after the decree is entered, your ex-spouse’s rights are cut off by the divorce decree. It is always better to redo your will, but in the event your will is not redone after the decree is entered, your ex-spouse is treated as having predeceased you.

There is an analogous provision for beneficiaries on other policies; however, this tends to be more complicated because companies holding such policies are often out of state and not knowledgeable of Iowa law. In such case, if they do not know you are divorced they may pay the policy benefit to the beneficiary on file. It’s clearly going to be more difficult for your beneficiaries to get the money back at that point. Therefore, while there are provisions intended to implement the notion that you don’t want your ex-spouse to be a beneficiary of your estate plan, it’s not a perfect solution.

Every situation is different. This is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Talk to an experienced family law attorney at Elverson Vasey for advice on your specific situation.