Hidden traps. How your ex can benefit from your will.

by Peter Magee on February 17, 2011

Peter MageeAll too often a family law property settlement concludes with what appears to be a final resolution for all parties involved but in reality contains some unassuming landmines which remain latent until the unexpected occurs.

It is more and more common and, in fact, essential for family law clients to update their wills with their lawyers and update their beneficiary nominations with their superannuation fund.

In the worse case scenario, after having apparently finalised a family law property settlement, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s and after presumably paying significant legal fees to obtain such a financial separation, a family law client may face the undesirable consequence of having their estate distributed to their former husband/wife or partner upon their death because they have not updated their will or beneficiary nominations in their superannuation fund to exclude their ex.

More often than not, for most people, spouses and partners are the automatic first instance beneficiary under a will or a superannuation fund. These documents are often drafted and locked away collecting cobwebs and forgotten about until the relevant time. A time when it is too late to act.

Clients are often surprised at the suggestion of having these documents updated as it is not often one of the issues that come to mind whilst finalising a family law property settlement. The time, detail and emotional involvement associated with undertaking a property settlement quite often results in clients feeling like they are “out of energy” and merely wanting to proceed with their lives and return to “normal”. However, all people involved with the family law process should be aware that it is a highly valuable and worthwhile exercise to invest a little more time in updating these documents for complete finality of the financial separation, otherwise your ex may hover in your financial life for a lot longer than you would ever expect.

If you have concerns about your will now that your marriage or relationship has ended,  we can help put your mind at ease.

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