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Estate Planning and Divorce in Minnesota: A Guide to the Key Things to Know

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Divorce

It is never easy to separate from a spouse. During the course of a marriage, so much of your life becomes intertwined. Leaving aside all of the emotional challenges, there are a number of different logistical issues that must be addressed and resolved.

As an example, you may have questions about what you need to do with your estate plan when you get divorced. In this article, our Mankato divorce lawyers provide an overview of the most important things you should know about divorce, estate planning, Minnesota law.

Minnesota Law: Automatic Revocation of Certain Provisions

Similar to many other states, Minnesota automatically revokes certain estate plan provisions once a divorce is finalized. Under Minnesota law (MN Stat. § 524.2-804), the dissolution of a marriage will automatically revoke any portion of a will that leaves an ex-spouse property—unless the legal document expressly states otherwise.

In addition, the statute also revokes Power of Attorney (POA) documents, executor designations, and any other nomination in a governing instrument. There is an exception for certain types of trusts. Once again, parties are allowed to expressly state otherwise in their estate planning documents. If you want your ex spouse to remain in your estate plan after a divorce, that is your right—but you must take express action.

Minnesota Law Applies to All Marriages

Notably, Minnesota’s automatic revocation statute became law in 2002. Nonetheless, it applies retroactively—meaning it applies to all married couples in the state, including people who tied the knot many decades ago.

In fact, the law has been challenged to the nation’s highest court. In 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the retroactive application of MN Stat. § 524.2-804. in the case of Sveen v. Melin. In an 8 to 1 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Minnesota state statute.

Getting Divorced? It is Best to Review and Revise Your Estate Plan

While Minnesota state law provides some automatic protections, you should still review your estate plan after a divorce. Indeed, estate planning professionals generally recommend that you review (and potentially revise) your key documents after all major life events. Divorce certainly qualifies as a major life event.

You need to make sure that your estate plan is up to date and meets your current needs. By reviewing and revising an estate plan after a divorce, you can clear up any potential confusion. A lawyer can help deal with any specific issues during the divorce process.

Call Our Mankato, MN Divorce Attorney for Immediate Assistance

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota family lawyers are diligent, reliable advocates for clients. If you have any questions about estate planning and divorce, we are here to help. Contact us by calling us at 507-405-2442 or sending us a message directly online. From our legal offices in Mankato and Rochester, we provide family law services throughout all of Southern Minnesota, including in Albert Lea, Austin, Spring Valley, Faribault, Owatonna, and Waterville.