If my brother named his wife as the beneficiary and now they are no longer married, does that void the Will written before their divorce?

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If my brother named his wife as the beneficiary and now they are no longer married, does that void the Will written before their divorce?

His Will states, my beloved wife now she is no longer his wife. Their divorce is final and we cannot find another updated Will.

Asked on March 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In light of the prevalence of divorce in the modern era and the fact that many people fail to update their Wills after their marriages end, most states have enacted statues to cover just such a situation as this.  Accordingly, divorce revokes a gift to an ex-spouse that is a beneficiary under a Will, life insurance policy, or the like.  It does not void the Will itself (just the gift).  Therefore pursuant to the laws of most jurisdictions, your father's ex-spouse would be deemed as having pre-deceased him and the bequest would go to the party that would receive under the "residuary clause" (i.e. the clause that reads, "All the rest, residue and remainder...").  


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