Your Will and the Effect of Separation and Divorce
Until a final decree of divorce has been entered, each spouse retains certain rights to the other spouse's property, unless the parties previously executed a prenuptial agreement, have addressed or entered into a separation agreement settling those rights, or the court has otherwise addressed or terminated those rights. The law in North Carolina requires that a couple be separated for at least one year and a day before filing for a divorce. During that one-year waiting period, or for so long as you remain legally married, your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may inherit all or a portion of your property in the event of your death. If you are contemplating divorce, ask your attorney about what you can do to protect your property in the event you die before the final decree of divorce has been entered.
Likewise, a divorce between two parties occurring after a will has been executed does not invalidate the will itself, but it may invalidate all provisions in the will that apply to the former spouse.
Contact us at 919-783-9669 today to discover how we can help when you're considering contesting a last will and testament.
Contesting a last will and testament is something many people try to do if there has been a separation or divorce before, during, or after the will is executed. Divorce and estate laws are complex and can make situations such as the death of a loved one or family member even more difficult.
Additionally, if a family does not find a last will and testament, there could be problems with executing the will and family members could try to contest older versions of the document. Making sure your family knows where your last will and testament is located may help prevent unpleasant will contests later.
Separations and divorces often make last will and testament executions complicated and drawn out for long periods of time. To protect your family from facing those difficulties following your death, you should meet with an attorney to develop and execute an estate plan that will ensure your wishes are honored.
A last will and testament can also be contested for reasons including fraud, duress, undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, etc. Protect yourself and your loved ones from unnecessary attacks to your estate plan, by having properly drafted and executed estate planning documents.