There are a lot of changes that happen because of a divorce. One that may not be at the top of people’s minds when going through a divorce is the impact their divorce is going to have on their property when they pass away. Divorce can change the way property is treated with respect to certain deeds, life insurance policies, wills, and other estate planning documents.
What Impact Does a Divorce Have on a Will?
In general, Texas law takes into account that people don’t want to leave things to their ex-spouse after a divorce. Without express language that says otherwise written into a will, anything left to a spouse will be treated as if the spouse is essentially dead at the time the will is probated under Texas law. This means that anything that was meant to go to an ex-spouse will now go to whoever is next in line. This could mean that an alternate beneficiary was designated and the property will go to that next person listed or it could mean that the property now will pass as if no will was drafted because no alternate beneficiaries were named.
Do I Need to Update my Will After my Divorce?
You probably should. To simplify the process and make sure that your will reflects your current wishes, it is probably best that you update all of your estate planning documents. You may need to name a new executor because you had previously named your spouse. You probably want to name new alternate beneficiaries because your old alternates may now be your primary beneficiaries and if they die before you do then your will may become fairly useless in passing your property to the people you would like it to go to.
If you have any questions regarding your divorce or how your divorce may impact your will or other estate planning documents, contact Guest and Gray and we can set up a time for a free consult to discuss your options.