FAQs About Wills

How Does Divorce Affect a Previously Signed Last Will and Testament?

by Rania Combs

Although there are no hard and fast rules about how often you should update your will, certain life changes, such as a divorce, will trigger a need to do so.

But what happens if you divorce and die before you’ve had a chance to change your will? Does your estranged ex-spouse get the property you previously willed to him or her while you were still in love?

In Texas, the answer is no. The Texas statutes provide that if, after making a will, the testator’s marriage is dissolved, either by divorce, annulment or a declaration that the marriage is void, all the provisions in the will, including all fiduciary appointments, shall be read as if the former spouse predeceased the testator.

So if you previously signed a will that gave all your worldly possessions to your spouse, and named him or her as the executor of your will, but then divorced, those you named as contingent beneficiaries would take under the will, and those you named as alternate fiduciaries (executors or trustees) would be called on to act.

Nevertheless, it is important that you update your will after your divorce to reflect your current wishes. Your will is something that should change as your life does. Otherwise it can become an outdated document that doesn’t accomplish your goals or protect the loved-ones you leave behind.

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  1. Do I Need I New Will When I Move – Texas Wills and Trusts Online

    February 27, 2012 at 12:01pm

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  3. Lanette Fox

    November 15, 2016 at 6:16pm

    Suppose you were married over 50 years and decided you want your ex-spouse to still inherit everything? Can you rewrite your will to that effect?

    1. Rania Combs

      November 30, 2016 at 3:53pm

      A Will executed after a divorce can specify that an ex-spouse will be the beneficiary of your estate.