Many aspects of a divorce can be complex and confusing. There are a lot of issues which must be dealt with and the details can become important. Often, Michigan law determines exactly what will happen in specific situations and knowing the finer points of these laws can prevent problems down the road and ease your frustration.
What is revocation upon divorce?
Michigan assumes that, when a couple divorces, they intend to sever their previous relationship in nearly every respect. The assumption is made even when the couple doesn’t directly state such an intent and is codified in Michigan Code Section 700.2807.
During the marriage, it is common for spouses to name each other as beneficiaries to life insurance policies or as personal representatives in their wills. In Michigan, these designations are automatically revoked upon completion of the divorce. As a result, an ex-spouse may think they are still entitled to their former spouse’s life insurance benefits, but this is not necessarily the case.
Much depends on whether one or both spouses update their documents following the divorce. Just because a life insurance beneficiary designation is automatically revoked does prevent a spouse from re-designating the same beneficiary, if they so choose. The same goes for updating a will, reaffirming the ex-spouse as their personal representative.
The important thing to take away is that laws can have automatic and unintended consequences that a divorced couple did not plan for. Upon completion of a divorce, it’s critical to review and update estate plans, life insurance policies and other instruments to ensure they reflect your wishes and whether you want them to include your former spouse.