How Do I Write an Online Will if I'm Divorced?
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How Do I Write an Online Will if I'm Divorced?

How do I write an online Will if I'm divorced? How do I write a new online Will? In this article, we'll show you how to write an online Will that takes your divorce into account. Keep reading to learn more.

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” To that I would add a corollary - nothing is certain except death, taxes, and divorce. Around 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and the numbers are even higher for second and third marriages. Hey, I’m not here to judge! Relationships are hard and people live much longer than they did when Ben Franklin was around. The average life expectancy was just 35 years old in 1776, which means that people died before they had a chance to end their first marriages.

The reasons behind your divorce don’t matter to your estate plan. The only thing that counts is making sure that you update your Will or write a new one as soon as you know your relationship is over, ideally even before the ink is dry on your divorce decree. In this article, I’ll show you how to write an online Will that takes your divorce into account. 

Revoke the Old Will, Stat!

If you have an old Will that was written when you were married, tear it up immediately. If you aren’t prepared to write a new Will right now while you’re in front of your computer, then at least write a codicil revoking it. A codicil is a short statement that modifies or revokes a Will. You can do that in one sentence:  “I hereby revoke all Wills and codicils I have previously made.” Sign and date it, and you’ve revoked your former Will.

Now that it’s taken care of, let’s look at the reason you need a new Will.  Wills are meant to distribute your property to the people you want, name a guardian for minor children, and appoint an executor to oversee the probate process. People who are married typically have a Will leaving their property to their spouse, naming their spouse as legal guardian, and making the spouse their executor. You see the problem here? 

In most states, a divorce automatically revokes your former Will. But you shouldn’t leave it up to state law, since the old Will is not revoked until there is a final decree. A lot can happen while you wait for your divorce to finalize and if you pass away in the meantime, then you’ll wind up giving all of your property to your ex. Most people would strongly prefer not to do this!

How to Write a New Online Will

To write your post-divorce Will, name new heirs who will inherit your assets. Be sure to name an alternate just in case your first choice doesn’t out-live you. Next, name an executor to handle the administration of your Will. Also, name an alternate. 

If you have minor children, you’ll need to name a legal guardian for them in the Will, even though courts are highly likely to give your ex full custody when you die. The purpose of naming a guardian is to make sure that someone you approve of could raise your children in the event that both you and your former husband or wife die before the kids reach age 18. 

Sometimes people think their former spouse is not fit to raise the couple’s children. This is usually very hard to prove and probate court is not the best venue to make that determination. However, if you have strong feelings about the matter, you can leave a letter with your executor with instructions to pass it along to the court. If you take this route, be sure to leave concrete and documented examples otherwise the letter will just read like extreme sour grapes.

Update Your Beneficiary Designations 

You can make a new Will right now using FastWill. After you’ve done that, don’t forget to update your beneficiary designations. Some assets pass outside of a Will and go directly to the beneficiaries named on the paperwork.  The most common assets that pass outside of a Will are retirement accounts (401(k) and IRAs), life insurance policies, pay-on-death bank accounts, and transfer-on-death brokerage accounts. If you don’t update these designations with a new beneficiary, you’ll be rolling over in your grave, because your ex will walk away with your assets.


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