If my ex-wife and I had a Will in which we left everything to each other, is it still valid?

We have been divorced for a year. She tells me the Will is no longer valid since we divorced. I think it still is valid and needs to be changed. I’d like to just cancel the old will and get a new lawyer to make a new Will, as she works for the law firm that did our Will.

Asked on April 7, 2014 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It depends: did the will name you by name (e.g. "I leave everything to John/Jane Doe") or only by the relationship (e.g. "I leave everything to my husband/wife")?

If you are identified by name, then the will is probably still valid (though much depends on the exact wording--e.g. even if your name was used, from the overall context, is it clear that you were only intended to inherit while still her husband?--you have to read the will and how the two of you are named in it to see what the  intention was), since the will names *you*, not your role or relationship.

If you were named however by your roles/relationships--i.e. as husband and wife--then you would no longer inherit under it, since you are no longer husband or wife.

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