Did you know that if you got a divorce that some provisions of your will or trust may be ignored? It is true. Texas Estates Code Section 123.001 provides that the provisions related to your former spouse inheriting or acting as a fiduciary are treated as if your former spouse predeceased you (unless your will provides otherwise). This also applies to relatives of your former spouse.
What this means:
- If your former spouse is a beneficiary, those bequests will be invalidated;
- If your former spouse was named as your trustee or executor, that will no longer apply;
- If a relative of your former spouse (say, his/her sibling) that is not your relative was named as beneficiary, executor or trustee, or an alternate, that will no longer apply;
- If you still would like your former spouse or one of their relatives to inherit or act as a fiduciary, even in the event of your divorce, you would have needed to have specific language stating so.
- Relying on an old, outdated will leaves “gaps” in your plan. For Example: If your will states that your spouse was to be named Executor or Trustee and his/her sibling was your alternate, you may be left with no one appointed to that position once you divorce. And bequests can be left to alternate beneficiaries in a way that you did not intend.
- Divorcing changes your financial picture and your relationships. You should always thoroughly review your will both during and after a divorce.
- Having a will in place with a lot of invalidated and outdated provisions affects the clarity of your document. It creates questions for the probate judge and the beneficiaries.
- Make sure that you always have a clear, accurate, properly written and executed Texas will and that any trust documents or provisions are clear and up-to-date as well!
Make sure that you review your will after a divorce. Our family law and estate planning attorneys are here to help!
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