Estate planning experts in Westerville advise you to create your will (along with other relevant estate planning instruments) early on in your adult life. If you heed this advice, you put your beneficiaries in a good position when it comes to the disposition of your property should you meet an untimely end.

Your spouse will almost certainly rank amongst those beneficiaries. Yet major events may occur that will likely impact your estate plans. A divorce is one such event, potentially leaving you no longer wanting your ex-spouse to benefit from your estate. This leads to the inevitable question of what might happen if you divorce yet fail to update your will.

The effect of divorce on an estate plan

A fatalist perspective may have you believing that in such a scenario, your ex-spouse might still inherit whatever assets you bequeathed to them in your will. Yet that is not the case. Per Section 2107.33 of Ohio’s Revised Code, any disposition of property or powers of appointment made to your spouse in your will (or any other estate planning instrument) automatically become nullified upon any of the following events occurring:

  • Divorce
  • Annulment
  • Legal separation

While this eliminates the concern of your ex-spouse inadvertently inserting your assets, it does not mean that there should not be any urgency in updated your estate plan to accommodate your new situation.

Leaving your ex-spouse in your estate plans

Yet at the same time, you should ask yourself if it is in yours (or your other beneficiaries’ best interests) to completely exclude your ex-spouse from your estate plans. For example, if you have young children, you may want to leave your ex-spouse as trustee over your kids’ inheritance until they reach the age of majority. This suggestion should not serve as a substitute for actual legal advice; rather, it may simply reflect sound judgment.