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Divorce Should Spark Second Look at Estate Plan

Some state laws involving divorce and estate plans may be ruled unconstitutional.

Some states laws that automatically revoke a spousal benefit upon divorce are facing challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the SCOTUSblog in "Court adds seven new cases to docket."

Estate law will offer you some protection, if you do not update your will after a divorce. However, you may not be allowed to decide who gets any share that would have otherwise gone to your ex-spouse.

There are fewer protections for other instruments that might make up part of your overall estate plan, such as life insurance.

The issue before the Supreme Court in Sveen v. Melin is whether these state laws violate the contracts clause of the Constitution that prohibits the states from impairing contracts. The idea is that a life insurance policy could be part of a contractual relationship between spouses and that automatically revoking the designation upon divorce interferes with that contract.

If you get a divorce, it might be a good idea to go see an estate planning attorney rather than leave the decisions up to the state of your residence.

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