Good morning. I had a Will written in 1989. My wife and I divorced in 1995.
Allen, TX |
In the state of Texas, if I die, are the items left to her automatically null and void? I do realize I need to have a new Will written but I need to know if I die before this happens, does an ex-wife still receive these items. Thanks.
no. Get a will written ASAP. It does not cost very much.
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Yes, under Probate Code section 69, the former spouse will be treated as if she predeceased you for purposes of interpreting the will, and the contingent or residuary beneficiaries would take the bequest. Also, if you named her as executor or trustee in the will, those appointments would be treated as if she had died and the successor appointees would move up.
But has you correctly stated, you need to get a new will to make sure your estate is distributed according to your current wishes.
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It is virtually certain that your divorce judgment or property settlement dealt specifically with this issue. If it did not, State law does so in every state I am aware of. Why would you even leave this the least bit of chance, however? Your will is going on 25 years old. Your life has clearly changed a huge amount since then and you really owe it to whoever you want to leave your estate to, to get this right. As Ms. Raddatz pointed out, this is not difficult or expensive to take care of. You should meet with an estate planning attorney and get your documents in place. Notice, I said document(S). A Will is not the only estate planning document necessary. Your lawyer can assist you with preparing a complete estate plan.
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The provisions in your will directing assets to your ex-wife are null and void. However, if you have left your Will like this for so long, I would also check such things as life insurance beneficiary designations and joint accounts. The designations would also be voided, but the extra time and effort required to do that will burden the heirs/beneficiaries you want to receive the assets and delay the receipt of these asset by them and potentially cost them money in court costs and legal fees. Re-do your will and check your insurance and accounts!
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The gifts should be null and void, but that does not apply to things such as insurance policies. I would still take the time to put together a new will, but at least contact any insurance policies and get those changed first.