Does Divorce Revoke a Will?

When you sit down to write your will, you’re most likely going to include your partner in that document. Many people believe that their any lines containing their partner in their last will and testament are dissolved after a divorce, but that isn’t the case. 

There’s a lot to consider while you’re going through a divorce, especially if you have children in the mix, but you can’t afford to neglect your will. From hiring legal representation like these Sacramento will lawyers to the changes you need to make, here’s everything you need to know. 

Does Divorce Revoke a Will? 

The simple answer is no, a divorce will not revoke the will you wrote while married. If you had a will before you were married, that document doesn’t come back into effect either. The more complicated aspect to this answer is that your former partner is treated as though they had died for inheritance purposes. 

In this scenario, your estate is compromised if your will doesn’t specify what happens in the event of your partner’s death. Intestacy, or what happens when you otherwise do not have a will, comes into effect. The law dictates who inherits from your estate, which may jeopardize your wishes for inheritance. 

Making a New Will vs Keeping the Current One

Anytime personal circumstances change, especially with a life-changing event like divorce, it’s an excellent idea to revisit and update your will. Choosing to make a new one ensures your estate is divided how you wish, any new partners are provided for, and your children receive the inheritance you want them to. 

A new will also protects you against any claims your former spouse may try to make in court. Failing to make a new will opens you up to legal trouble and complicates your final wishes. Just ask this family law attorney in Sacramento about how an ex-partner can ruin your plans for your children’s inheritance. It might be the last thing on your mind, but creating a new will is in everyone’s best interest. 

Claims on Estate, Clean Break Orders, and Separation Without Divorce

The above three areas are often mildly confusing. For claims on estate, your ex-partner can still make a claim if they can prove that you financially supported them. The Inheritance Act allows them to seek these claims if you financially maintained them after your separation. While you might not be able to prevent this, you executors can prepare themselves for any potential court battles. 

One way to better protect your estate and assets is a clean break order, which is an agreement that states neither of your have financial ties to the other after the divorce. You’ll still need a new will, and having children that are dependents might complicate this matter. Speak with your attorney to better understand if this option is right for you. 

Finally, there’s separation without divorce. You are allowed to make a new will at this time and it is entirely legal to exclude your former partner in that document. While they can still make an Inheritance Act claim, your executors can once again prepare for negotiations and battles in court. At the end of the day, a new and well thought out will is the best way to ensure your last wishes are met.