Does a Will override a divorce agreement?

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Does a Will override a divorce agreement?

My father passed away and in his Will his wife is to receive the house. However, in a prior divorce agreement, he states that my 2 younger brothers are to receive 50% of the same property. Also, I am the executor and I hired and paid for an attorney. Can I fire the attorney and have the work passed on to another?

Asked on February 27, 2014 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the will will generally override any prior agreements, including a divorce agreement. A valid will--properly executed; not the product of improper influence or coercion; etc.--is the almost always final word on the distribution of assets and no other earlier, contemporaneous, or after-the-fact judgments will affect that. That said, if your father violated an agreement, it *may* be possible to sue his estate for breach of contract and recover some assets (though this can be an expensive and emotionally fraught undertaking); if you want to explore this option, consult with a trusts and estates or probate lawyer.

And yes--you can fire an attorney and have another take over the work.


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