If I am mentioned in my ex-father-in-law’s Will but I have now divorced his son, would I still get what my father-in-law left me left me?

I am mentioned by my maiden name.

Asked on July 30, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, an attorney should review the will, since its precise language is critial. That said, as a general matter, if you are identified by name and not by "status" (e.g. "to my son's wife"), then you would normally still inherit, since you are still the person specifically identified (e.g. inheriting, if you are identified by name, is not dependent on your status). If identified by both name and status, it's not as clear cut, and in the event of a challenge, a court would look to determine whether from the context and the rest of the will, it appears you were meant to inherit even after a divorce (e.g. to help take care of your children, which would be the father-in-law's grandchildren) or not.

Of course, if your ex-father-in-law is still alive, he can freely modify his will to exclude you, if he wants.


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