What will happen if my husband’s Will is not updated since he is now married to me?

My husband and I been married for 4 years now. He made a homemade Will when he was single about 8-10 years ago.  In that Will it says and says that the beneficiary is his niece. Now that he is married to me and his Will is still not updated yet. If ever my husband passes away what would happen to his properties and other assets? Wouldl I get everything since I am the legal wife even though we have no kids? If the niece has a copy of that homemade Will and goes to a lawyer what would happen?

Asked on July 26, 2010 under Estate Planning, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) IF a will is valid, then it will control. The fact that someone is married, or has children would not overridge a will. This is why, if someone's life changes, they need to update their will. So in the case you describe, if the will is valid, your husband's niece will inherit.

2) Wills are very "technical"--if they are created wrong, not witness or signed properly, or use the  wrong language, they often will be invalid. So it is not a given that a "homemade" will would in fact be valid.

Thee best thing to do is to have a lawyer create the will that the two of you want. If for some reason it is impractical to do that, at a minimum, a lawyer should review your husband's will so you can know whether or not it is valid and enforceable. Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) IF a will is valid, then it will control. The fact that someone is married, or has children would not overridge a will. This is why, if someone's life changes, they need to update their will. So in the case you describe, if the will is valid, your husband's niece will inherit.

2) Wills are very "technical"--if they are created wrong, not witness or signed properly, or use the  wrong language, they often will be invalid. So it is not a given that a "homemade" will would in fact be valid.

Thee best thing to do is to have a lawyer create the will that the two of you want. If for some reason it is impractical to do that, at a minimum, a lawyer should review your husband's will so you can know whether or not it is valid and enforceable. Good luck.


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