Every now and then, a will needs to be updated. Reviewing your will every year to make sure it’s still in line with your wishes isn’t a bad idea. Otherwise, the following big life changes should be reflected in your will:
- Birth or death of an heir;
- Major investment adjustments;
- Real estate sales or purchases; and
- Relationship changes, such as divorce.
But what happens if you get divorced and do not change your will before you die? Find out what you need to know about divorce and wills under Texas laws.
Texas Laws on Divorce and Wills
In Texas, if an individual dies and the ex-spouse is still named as a beneficiary in the will, the ex-spouse is considered “predeceased.” This means the law treats the ex-spouse as if they had died before you, and they are no longer eligible to receive any of the estate as stated in the will.
So, if you named your ex-spouse as the executor of your will and a beneficiary but then divorced, contingent beneficiaries or alternative executors and trustees will be called to act on behalf of your estate.
When You Want an Ex-Spouse to Inherit
However, there are situations where you are still close with your ex-spouse, or otherwise still wish for them to inherit your estate. Some believe just by leaving the will the way it is, their ex-spouse will still inherit their estate. However, this is NOT true in Texas. When an individual has a lawful dissolution of marriage, the named ex-spouse on a will cannot inherit.
So, how do you allow an ex-spouse to inherit? The will must be changed to reflect your ex-spouse in his or her new relation to you, rather than as your husband or wife. Then, they will be able to inherit your estate.
There are some exceptions to Texas law of omitting an ex-spouse from a will. Any life insurance policies or retirement benefits are not affected by this law and will still go to the ex-spouse unless changed. These designations must be changed or revoked in the individual accounts, assets or plans.
When it comes to wills and estate planning, it’s easy to miss or forget about fundamental details affecting your estate. Keeping your estate safe and in the right hands is easy with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. Morris Ostrom Law has years of experience in estate planning and probate litigation.
Call us today at 888-869-9015 or fill out our contact form on our website for more information about divorce and wills in Texas and to schedule a consultation.