How do I protect my assets and override a previous Will?

I wrote a last Will and testament with my former wife during our marriage. We divorced 7 years ago and I have recently remarried. I have listed my new/current wife as my beneficiary for all of my insurance policies and investments; we are writing the titles of our properties as “joint tenancies”. Will this suffice to protect my assets and void the previous Will? I intend to eventually create a “living trust” but do not wish to rush this process at present.

Asked on September 5, 2012 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under CA law, getting divorce has an impact on your will.  I would recommend setting up a new will (to have a choice in the disposition of your assets) and a trust (to avoid probate).  Life insurance does not pass by will or trust, but goes directly to the beneficiary and is not impacted by will or trust instruments.  Holding property as joint tenants with right of surviviorship is a very good idea. 

You can rest easy knowing you former wife will get nothing under your old will because of the california law below.  Best of luck:

 

Probate Code § 6122: Dissolution/Annulment Triggers Revocation in Part (SUMMARY)       

 

(a) (Unless the will expressly provides otherwise) Dissolution or annulment revokes all of the following to former spouse:

 

Any disposition of property

 

Any power of appointment

 

Any provision nominating spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, guardian

 

(b) Remarriage (to same spouse) revives provision revoked by this statute.

 

(c) (1) Property prevented from passing to a former spouse because of the revocation passes as if the spouse failed to survive the testator.

 


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