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I Just Got Divorced, Do I Change My Will?

How do I change my will after getting divorced

In life, there are always going to be transformative changes. One of the biggest changes that people go through is divorce, which not only affects us, but may also trigger a big impact in our legal documents.

The Provision of the Law on Divorce and Wills

Divorce can alter the provisions in a will and make them ineffective. However, the good news is that statutes provide protection for these situations. The law says that if there’s a divorce decree and it has severed the marriage, the decree also severs any reference in a will or trust document to the former spouse.

This effectively deletes the ex-spouse from the will, whether they are assigned in the document as a personal representative or a provision that gives them a certain portion of the deceased’s assets.

So Does the Will Need to be Amended?

Because the law automatically deletes the ex-spouse from the will after a divorce decree, there is no need to amend the document. However, divorce can change other things such as:

  • Estate tax or inheritance tax that counts on using the other spouse’s exemptions. This is no longer possible after divorce.
  • The divorce decree can ratify an existing will or trust. Although this is a rare occurrence, it’s something that people needed to be careful of.
  • Beneficiary designations. There are some insurance policies, retirement plans, etc. that do not get severed along with the divorce. These documents need to be updated if the ex-spouse is listed on them.

By law, a divorce decree severs any reference in a will or trust document to the former spouse, which removes the necessity of updating a will after a divorce. However, people should still consider the other documents that may list their ex-spouse as a beneficiary and update them accordingly to prevent problems in the long run.

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