Can I Change My Will During a Minnesota Divorce?

Green Scales of JusticeThis is a repost from a popular topic- Can you change your will and estate plan during a Minnesota divorce so your soon-to-be ex doesn’t inherit?

Most divorcing parties do not want their soon-to-be ex-spouse inheriting.  You should consider some measure of estate planning issues early on in a divorce proceeding.  Minnesota Uniform Probate Code states that upon a divorce a person is no longer a “surviving spouse” and, therefore, the surviving spouse language in a Will is moot. The Code, however, requires that the marriage “has been dissolved or annulled.” 

Minnesota law automatically revokes certain documents when a divorce is started.  A financial power of attorney and a healthcare directive naming a spouse is revoked. ( Minn. Stat. Section 523.08. ) Beneficiary designations in Wills or Trusts, however, in favor of a spouse are not revoked until the divorce is final.   The right to dispose of your remains may become the subject of an action by your surviving heirs to keep a spouse from making this decision.  You may, however, plan your estate to definitively exclude your spouse and name other trusted persons in your documents.

Changing Estate Planning Documents

The Summons in a divorce proceeding has restraining provisions; The standard language restrains both parties to the divorce from changing life insurance beneficiaries. Neither party may make certain transfers of assets from the marital estate.

What the Summons doesn’t restrain is  your right to:

  • Make a new Will naming an heir and a personal administrator other than your soon-to-be ex-spouse;
  • Terminate a financial power of attorney to the  spouse and name another person to mange your financial affairs if you are incapacitated;
  • Change a healthcare directive to remove the spouse as  your healthcare agent and name another person to make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated;
  •  Sever a joint tenancy to real property and create a new title to allow you to name an heir other than your spouse and,
  • Create a document under Minnesota Statute naming who you want to dispose of your remains in the event of your death ( Minn. Stat. Section 149A.80).

The foregoing estate planning documents serve to protect your interests.   If you have no estate documents, then you may create these documents during the divorce proceeding .

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

Call me at (320) 492-3606 or e-mail me via

Copyright 2016

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

2 Responses to “Can I Change My Will During a Minnesota Divorce?”

  1. This was a very timely article for me as I had this exact question posed to me. I found your article very informative. I appreciate blogs like this that have great info and not just promoting a certain firm. I appreciate the great info.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: