Wills and Divorce

It is a common practice for married couples to name each other as the beneficiary of their entire estate,  or at least a substantial portion of their estate upon death.  However, what many people do not know and often wonder is, what happens if the get divorced?  Is the will they created before the divorce still valid, although their intentions have likely changed?

The answer is yes.  Texas Probate Code Section 69 states that if after making a will, the testator’s marriage dissolves by divorce, annulment or otherwise, all provisions of the will, shall be read as if their former spouse had predeceased the testator.

What this means is that if you forget to update your will after your divorce, your former spouse will not receive any assets from your estate or be appointed executor.  If you do choose to execute a new will after the divorce that does specifically set out gifts to your former spouse, those gifts will be upheld.  But as a general rule, all provisions of your old will that made reference to your former spouse will be read as if the former spouse died before you.

If you have questions about your Estate Plan regarding divorce issues or otherwise, contact the experienced attorneys at Ford + Bergner LLP.