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Changing your will after a divorce

It is important to begin the estate planning process early on in your adult life (as you cannot anticipate if an accident or sudden illness cuts your life short). Yet one of the drawbacks of creating a will so early is that you are almost certain to go through life-changing events that may impact how you want your estate to be dispersed. For example, many come to us here at The Law Firm of Lan Quoc Nguyen & Associates in a panic due to loved ones having died without updating their wills following their divorces.

In this scenario, the fear is that if you leave your ex-spouse as part of your estate plans, they will inherit whatever you designated for them prior to your divorce. Yet you need not be concerned about this; the law anticipates the potential for such oversights and has enacted legislation to deal with them.

Per Section 6122 of the California Probate Code, your divorce automatically invalidates any provisions of your will that involve your ex-spouse. This includes any of the following:

  • Dispositions or appointments of property
  • Provisions conferring any general or special powers of appointment on your ex-spouse
  • Provisions nominating your ex-spouse as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian

Conversely, if you and your ex-spouse choose to remarry, those provisions are automatically reinstated (provided you have not already amended your will).

You can include language in your will that states that even in the event of a divorce, you want your ex-spouse included in your estate. You may want to consider this if you have young children to leave assets to, where naming your ex-spouse as trustee of those assets ensures they are preserved for your kids’ benefit.

You can learn more about amending your will by continuing to explore our site.

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