Do you need to review your will after your divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Estate Planning

Divorce is one of the reasons to update a will. But do you need to remove your ex-spouse from your will? Is there a risk to keeping them?

Here is what to know:

Revocation by dissolution of marriage

In Minnesota, the dissolution or annulment of marriage automatically revokes any provision in a will/trust that leaves property to the former spouse or appoints them to any position relevant to the estate plan, such as a trustee, executor, guardian or health care agent. However, this law may not apply if the testator (the person who writes a will) uses terms that expressly state otherwise and the terms were executed according to certain laws.

Essentially, the provisions of the will or trust will be interpreted as if the former spouse died immediately before the dissolution of the marriage.

What about a separation?

This law only applies to the dissolution of a marriage. No other circumstances can lead to a revocation. Thus, it does not apply to separated couples since their marriage has not been terminated.

What if a couple remarries?

Upon a remarriage to a former spouse, the provisions revoked earlier solely on the grounds of dissolution or annulment of marriage will be revived. This can also happen if a court nullifies the dissolution or annulment.

How can you update the revoked will?

You can tear, burn or shred your existing will and write a new one. If you had appointed your former spouse as a trustee, executor and so on, choose other parties and include them in your new will.

If you are going through a divorce, obtain adequate information about how it will affect your estate plan to make informed decisions sooner. This can protect your loved ones from a lot of hassle during probate.