When to revisit your estate planning

When to revisit your estate planning

When to revisit your estate planning

Estate planning is significant no matter your age, marital status, or socioeconomic status, so the added elements of complication that second marriages and blended families bring, only emphasize the need for a solid and thought-out estate plan. It is important to discuss and reach common goals with your second spouse with regard to those delicate areas where there are potentially competing interests (such as inheritances, financial planning, and long-term care) to avoid any ambiguity or undesirable effect.

Natural consequences of these actions (+ having a baby, etc.)

The Tennessee Code prescribes those actions that will effectively revoke a will. Among the list of intentional actions of burning and destroying the previous will or creating a subsequent will, include divorce, marriage, and birth a new child.

For example, pursuant to TCA 32-1-202, if an individual gets divorced or their marriage annulled, “the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise.”

Legal help for marriage, divorce, and blended families

Basically, the statute is saying that any provision that conveys power or property to the former spouse will be deemed invalid. All other provisions of the will remain intact.

However, if the individual remarries the former spouse, those provisions are “revived” so long as the individual has not signed a second will or remarried.

Other areas that require action to correct

The natural consequences of the law attempt to vest or divest inheritance rights in way that would fairly and likely reflect what the testator would have wanted. However, there are other methods of passing property that, outside of the testator’s will, require intentional/deliberate change. The following is a non-exhaustive list of documents that must be updated:
  1. Life insurance policies
  2. 401(k), IRA and Financial Investments
  3. Title of your home
  4. Ancillary documents, such as durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney designations
  5. Trust documents
Legal help for estate planning, wills, insurances, trusts and more in Tennessee
Regardless, the law cannot account for the unique intricacies of each family’s situation, so it’s best practice to revisit and update your will and other estate plan documents periodically to prevent inheritance problems and ensure it accurately reflects your intended disposition.