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How divorce affects one’s will or trust

Many people in Texas have wills or trusts drafted during their lives to help ensure their property goes to the people they want after they die. Throughout people’s lives, circumstances change, and life may be very different than when people originally drafted their will or trust. One way that people’s lives may have changed is that they may have gotten divorced.

Usually when people go through the estate planning process, people name their spouses as the first beneficiary in their will and often name their spouse as their personal representative or trustee. However, after they divorce, they most likely do not want their ex-spouse receiving any of their property or being in charge of administering their will or trust. The law recognizes this fact as well. Therefore, if a spouse is a named beneficiary or the personal representative of a will and the couple divorces, the former spouse is automatically treated as having not survived the testator and the estate will go to the next beneficiary or alternate personal representative named in the will.

While the law automatically eliminates ex-spouses from wills and trusts, divorce can be a good time to review one’s will and trust. Other circumstances may have changed or step-children may have been named as beneficiaries. In some situations, the testator may want to keep them as beneficiaries, but, in others, they will want to ensure they no longer receive anything. Also, throughout the marriage, other relationships may have changed, and people may want to review the named beneficiaries.

As people in Texas go through life, their circumstances change. This could include their financial situation and their personal relationships. While ex-spouses will no longer receive any property by default, there are other aspects of a will or trust that may need to be changed. It is important that these modifications are drafted correctly and consulting with an experienced attorney may be helpful.