Charlotte, NC asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina

Q: Can a will be changed during separation period in North Carolina

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1 Lawyer Answer
Catherine E Bruce
Catherine E Bruce
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Unless something like a separation agreement forbids it, you can revoke or change your will while you are separated from your spouse in North Carolina. If you pass away while you are separated, your spouse may still be able to claim an "Elective Share" of your estate (unless they are prohibited from doing so under a separation agreement or court decree). However, this is going to be a lot less than the 100% your spouse is probably getting under your current will.

Remember to also check your beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement policies, etc. Those pass outside probate, so if you leave your spouse as beneficiary, he or she will still receive the money even if you revoke your current will.

You may also want to create a new Power of Attorney and Heath Care Power of Attorney. If something happens to you while you are separated, your spouse is still legally your closest relative. He or she may be able to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make them yourself, unless you have already designated someone else as your agent under a POA and HCPOA.

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