How Divorce Can Affect Your Estate Plan

Home Life / Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

The end of a long-term relationship is often a messy affair. A lot of issues need to be resolved in such a scenario. One of the key issues that need to be addressed during a divorce is your assets or how your estate plan will be affected, says SCL Wills and Probate, renowned probate solicitors in Hertfordshire, known for their estate planning expertise.

Here are some key things you should consider before a divorce.

The Will

Many people name their spouse as the beneficiary in their will. This gift remains valid until either a new will is made, or the court issues the person’s decree absolute. If a married person without a will were to die before the issuing of their decree absolute, their spouse would get a significant share of their estate as per the intestacy rules. However, for couples cohabiting without a marriage, the intestacy rules don’t apply. Cohabitees don’t automatically inherit their partner’s estate. They would do so only if they have been named in the will.

Cohabitees don’t automatically inherit their partner’s estate. They would do so only if they have been named in the will.

Jointly-Held Property

If a person owns a property jointly with their partner, it passes to them after the demise of their partner, “by right of survivorship,” regardless of whether there is a will or not. This can be avoided by signing a “Notice of Severance,” a document that ensures that a person’s share in the property passes according to their will.


If the individual is receiving pension at the time of death, a lump sum amount will be paid to the person named in the nomination form. If you have nominated your partner as the beneficiary of your pension, you can change this by requesting for a new form from the pension provider.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney authorizes a person to deal with your personal business and finances on your behalf. If you have named your partner as an attorney, then you can bring this to an end by signing a deed of revocation. After that, you’ll need to sign a new power of attorney to replace the existing one. Estate planning solicitors in Hertfordshire can help with this.

Inherited Assets

Let’s say you inherit some substantial assets from your parents or someone else before you reach a financial settlement with your spouse. That inheritance will then become a part of the assets that will be up for grabs in the divorce settlement.

Therefore, your parents’ wills should be reviewed and, if needed, changed, so that their estate doesn’t end up with your estranged spouse. You and your parents can do this through the inclusion of a trust in the will. In case one of parent passes away, your inheritance will be held for you, instead of being passed on to you immediately.

You can then get these inherited assets transferred to you after the financial settlement of your divorce concludes. Your spouse won’t be able to lay claim on them.

Your relationship with your partner changes with a divorce, but your estate plan doesn’t need to. So, take out some time to review your will, powers of attorney, trusts, etc. Estate planning solicitors in Hertfordshire can help you with planning your estate and drawing up or amending your will.

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