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What is revocation upon divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | family law |

Going through a divorce can be painful. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and you’ll have to deal with a lot of issues you probably haven’t previously given much consideration. Child custody, spousal support and property division are common topics you’ll confront. But there are other, lesser-known consequences of a divorce as well.

Michigan law changes some things automatically

Michigan has a law known as ‘revocation upon divorce’, contained in Estates Statute Section 700.2807. The law presumes that divorcing couples intend to take certain actions even if they don’t think about it. For instance, if a spouse has executed a will, in which they bequeath property or assets to their ex-spouse, those provisions are automatically invalid as soon as the divorce is finalized.

It is also common for married persons to name their spouse as the personal representative in a will they have executed. This authority is revoked as well and has no effect. If the will remains unchanged, the law treats the situation as if the will did not name a personal representative at all.

Similarly, married individuals frequently list their spouse as the beneficiary to any life insurance policy they hold. Once the divorce is complete, the ex-spouse has no legal rights as the beneficiary, since their designation is automatically revoked.

It’s important to note that it is just the provisions within these documents that are revoked and not the documents themselves. The will itself is still valid as a whole. And the law does not prohibit an ex-spouse from being named again in a will or life insurance policy, should you desire your ex-spouse to retain those rights. The final divorce decree can contain an order that the ex-spouse remains in the documents, as intended, or the documents themselves can be re-executed after the divorce to overcome the revocation.