Does marriage void a Will.

My father executed his Will 7 years ago. He since moved to another state and got married 3 months ago. He has now passed away and I’m wondering if his will is still valid and if his new wife is entitled to anything.

Asked on March 20, 2019 under Estate Planning, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Marriage does not void a will, and nor, for that matter, does divorce; the pre-marriage will is still enforceable.
That said, if a will is not updated after marriage, the assumption is the spouse was ommitted from it by accident. In that case, the spouse gets what she would get if there was no will, under "intestate succession." In your state, when there is a spouse and children from the deceased who are not also children of that spouse, the spouse gets all the "community property," or everything acquired or earned during marriage other than anything inherited, and 1/2 the "separate property" of the deceased, or what he inherited or had pre-marriage. His children get the other 1/2 of the separate property.
So while the will is still valid, a large share of your father's estate wlll go to her if he did not update his will. The only way to disinherit a spouse in your state is to deliberately disinherit her, in an unequivocal way; but a pre-existing will, which may have been forgotten about, does not do that.
Here is a link to the relevant law:

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