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

UPDATED: Sep 5, 2012

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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


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

Answered 10 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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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