Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A recent ruling of the Maryland Court of Appeals held that testators must make clear any intention to allow a former spouse to inherit property under their will. Specifically, revocation of a bequest to a former spouse takes effect upon divorce, unless a statement to the contrary is included in the testator's will or in the divorce decree. This ruling was meant to protect divorced spouses from unintended consequences due to failure to amend a will after divorce, and based on the assumption that most people would want such protection. The ruling does not apply to separated couples who are not yet legally divorced.
See Helen Smith, 'Magic' Words to Ensure an Ex-Spouse Remains in Will, JD Supra, Nov. 29, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.