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Court of Wills, Estates & Probate

The following articles were written by former Probate Judge Merri Rudd.

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Reader Questions

11:49 AM
Merri Rudd

Editor's note: This column may not be quoted or reproduced in whole or part without express written permission of the author.

Q: In your column in Business Outlook on July 14, 2005, you stated that an ex-spouse is excluded from inheriting as a payable on death (POD), transfer on death (TOD), and life insurance beneficiary. Can they inherit under these designations if the designation is dated after the divorce is final? Anonymous

Good point! The column you mentioned stated that while "revocation by divorce" is the general rule, some people want to include an ex-spouse in a will. If so, people should update their wills after a divorce to include the ex-spouse as a devisee in spite of the divorce. This same principle applies to beneficiary accounts, such as the ones you list.

New Mexico's law only nullifies provisions to ex-spouses in governing instruments "executed by the divorced individual before the divorce or annulment of his marriage to his former spouse." If you want to name your ex-spouse as a beneficiary of an IRA, POD account, TOD account, or life insurance policy, just be certain to update the beneficiary designations after the date of the divorce. Designations created after the date of the divorce should be honored upon your death.

© 2005, Albuquerque Journal, All Rights Reserved 

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