In our previous article we talked about how important it is to make sure we update our will every time an certain big life event happens. Having an outdated will can be one of the top estate planning mistakes most of us make.

Marriage and divorce are two of the biggest big life events that will affect your will so let’s talk about the most important points to consider when these events happen.

How Does Marriage Affect Your Will?
You found your perfect match and after the long and exciting journey to your wedding, you are now officially husband and wife. After the big ‘Yes!’, your will and testament will be automatically revoked, hence it will become no longer valid and you will need to create a new will.

How Does Divorce Affect Your Will?
If my will is revoked when I get married, will the same happen if I get divorced?
Yes, this is the case in most states. Your existing will and testament becomes invalid. After the divorce any bequests to the former spouse are automatically revoked.

Although laws differ between states, let’s take a look at what California law states :

“Unless the will expressly provides otherwise, if after executing a will the testator’s marriage is dissolved or annulled, the dissolution or annulment revokes … any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse.”

Our advice is to contact your estate planning attorney after your divorce to be sure about the laws of your state. In some states, gifts to relatives of the former spouse, such as a stepchildren, are also revoked by divorce.

In any case, after a divorce the smart choice is to create a new will. If you decide that you still want your ex-spouse to be a beneficiary, you must expressly state this.

My ex-wife and I have Mutual Wills, do the same rules apply?
This might turn out to be a bit of an issue. Usually, revoking or changing any of the terms of the will requires the consent of all parties. If you drew up a Mutual Will, be sure to contact your estate planning attorney for advice.

How Does Remarriage Affect Your Will?
If you haven`t revoked or amended the will after the divorce, when you remarry your ex spouse, any previously made provisions related to her or him will be automatically reinstated.

And finally, don`t forget to upload your updated will to your secure vault or to change your beneficiary. If you still don`t have an account in, then right now is the best time to create one. Here you can safely store your vital information and make sure your family and loved ones are taken care of.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.