Do I Need to Get a New Will after a Divorce?

As with any major life change, parties need to consider creating a new will after a divorce. While people like to think of wills as something you can set and forget, in the case of a divorce it is highly likely you will want to alter your will. You will especially want a new will if your former spouse is the beneficiary.

The will does not have to be rewritten entirely, but some prefer this option for the sake of simplicity. It can often seem easier to have an attorney draft a new will you can sign. Other options include:

  • Incorporating a “codicil” to an existing will. This is similar to a postscript and does not require witnesses.
  • Rewrite only the relevant sections of the will; however, doing this will require witnesses.

Whichever option you choose, it is important to handle this issue as soon as possible following a divorce. In most states, if you enter a new relationship, your partner will not receive any inheritance unless you leave a will specifying this inheritance.

It makes sense that a will you created during a marriage will no longer be applicable following a divorce. However, it is easy for couples going through a divorce to forget the importance of changing or rewriting the will. With so many life changes taking place, it may not be in the forefront of your mind. But, you need to remember it is a very important decision to consider.

Beneficiaries After Divorce

Most parties will not want their former spouse to receive any benefit under the terms of their will. If your former spouse is listed as a beneficiary in your will and you neglect to update a change in marital status, the state of Georgia treats your former spouse as though he died before you. Once the divorce is finalized, any bequest you made the spouse reverts to your estate when you die. Then the estate is disbursed to the other beneficiaries listed in your will.

It’s true that you can revoke your will at any time before, during or following the divorce, and you do not need to let your beneficiaries know about the change nor will they need to approve any changes you make to the will. The best way to revoke your will is to simply execute a new one.

Remarrying and Wills

In the case of remarrying a former spouse, any provisions that had previously been made for him or her in your will are automatically reinstated, unless you revoked or amended the will following the divorce. In that case, because the state of Georgia allows the disinheritance of a spouse, your spouse will not have any right to the estate, unless you create a new will to include him or her.

If you are in the process of a divorce or have recently divorced, now is a good time to consider rewriting or modifying your will to reflect the relationship and life status changes you are making in your life. Be sure you are handling this issue in the best way possible by reaching out to an experienced family law attorney who can guide you every step of the way. Get the professional assistance you can trust with the Reeder Law Firm. Call (770) 504-4747 for a free consultation regarding a new will after divorce.