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Ex-spouses can inherit your money, and other estate-planning mistakes


Bridget Moynahan and Sarah Jessica Parker were spotted on the set “And Just Like That ” which is the continuation of “Sex and the City” and was filmed in Midtown Manhattan on July 27, 2020 in New York City.

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A lot of people’s last communication to the rest of the world is their last will, which describes how their property should be distributed after their death.

You can surprise your family members depending on what you do.

Unexpectedly, one of these shockers was the plot twist HBO’s “Sex and the City” revival. It is titled “And Just Like That”.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Carrie Bradshaw is the main character of the show. She discovers that her husband has left $1,000,000 to his wife after reading through his will.

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A lawyer from the program states that “when people have unfinished work, they tend not to throw money at them,”

“Why are they in there?” Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) later questions.

Martin M. Shenkman from New York, an estate planning attorney says this is a fictionalized scenario that would make it easy to see how ex-spouses might react in real life.

Shenkman stated that in 40 years of marriage, she has never witnessed anyone leave an ex-spouse.

You might leave money you don’t want to to someone, but there are exceptions.

Your ex might still be able to inherit your money

Shenkman explained that there is one exception to the rule where your ex-spouse may be in receipt of your death benefits. This is if your retirement plan does not change beneficiaries.

In most states, divorce decrees result in ex-spouses losing all their property rights.

However, because pensions fall under federal law (formally known as ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Safety Act of 1974), state laws don’t apply.

If you do not update beneficiary designations, your ex may still be eligible to inherit the cash.

People forget about updating their pensions, but that’s not all. Shenkman explained that bank account beneficiary designations can be difficult to find and may change over time.

Shenkman learned that a couple with a lot of wealth had nine accounts at different banks, not including their brokerage accounts. His advice to them was to whittle that down to two, preferably at the same bank to make managing them — and the respective beneficiary designations — easier.

Shenkman stated, “Simplify.” “Consolidate. “Get a grip on your current situation.”

Refrain from the temptation to take revenge

Shenkman stated that it is tempting to leave someone you are not happy with. However, he advises his clients to avoid this approach.

“It’s mean-spirited, and it can invite all kinds of problems like the will challenge,” he stated.

Shenkman explained that even if you are dead, there’s always a chance of reconciling.

He said, “Leave them something less,” “Don’t say anything nasty.

Be hopeful you’ll reconcile.

However, the concept of a family is constantly changing and some may choose to include in their wills friends they consider family.

These instances are known informally as unnatural gifts because they exclude typical beneficiaries, such as spouses and children. Shenkman suggested that specific language be added to clarify the situation.

One example is: Jane, my best friend and confidante for over three decades, will be left $1 million.

It is important to find the right professional, regardless of whether they are an accountant, lawyer or wealth advisor, in order for your wishes to be fulfilled.

Shenkman explained that objectivity is the most valuable thing an independent professional can bring to the table. It’s hard to see what you have done.