Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Rewriting Your Will After Divorce

From Investopedia:

Many states have laws that, after a divorce, automatically revoke gifts to a former spouse listed in a will. . . . Some states go even further to include provisions that revoke gifts to family members of a former spouse.

Typically, if you had alternate beneficiaries listed in your will, the gifts would default to them. If you had no alternate beneficiary for a gift, the person you listed in your will as a residual beneficiary would inherit the assets in question. However, it is not a great idea to rely on state law in these matters. Additionally, during the divorce process, you are still technically married, and you may wish to change your beneficiaries in advance of the final divorce decree

Most married people leave everything in their will to their surviving spouse. If this is how your will currently reads, be sure to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and add a new beneficiary. Be aware, however, that many assets are passed outside of a will. These asset transfers are based on bank or insurance documents. Therefore, it is also critical to change the beneficiary designation on those documents. 

The important items to update in your will are your beneficiaries, executor, property, and guardianship of minor children. 

Read more here

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