If beneficiaries of will marry and change their names, do I need to update will?

Simple will leaving everything equally to 3 daughters, who have married and changed their names – is a new will reflecting married names necessary?

Asked on September 4, 2016 under Estate Planning, Maryland


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your Will sets out how you want your estate to be distributed and the law enforces a deceased's intentions. Therefore, if the listed beneficiary in a Will is listed under their maiden name, the probate court will presume that you intended to leave the property to the person named, regardless of the name change. If fact, a Will, Trust or the like don't even need to use a correct or full legal name in order to leave property to a particular person. Accordingly, your daughter's will receive their inheritance even if they are listed under their maiden names and now use married names.

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