Does a Will supercede or take precedence over a half a century old divorce decree?

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Does a Will supercede or take precedence over a half a century old divorce decree?

My aunt lived with her significant other for 30 years. He left all his money to her in the Will. A 50-year old divorce decree was found indicating upon the death of “significant other” which is the father, a biological son is entitled to his proportionate share no matter what, upon his death. And how much is a “proportionate share?”

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Estate Planning, Florida

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I doubt that a 50 year old divorce decree could supercede a more current will.  I would have to see the divorce decree and the will to express an opinion, but settlement agreements in divorce cases are contracts and interpreted like any other contract.  If the divorce decree did not arise from a settlement agreement, but a court order, the context of it would be very important.  A court order prohibiting a parent from choosing how to dispose of his assets 50 years later would raise constitutional concerns.

It would be important to know why you are asking this question.  Has the son raised the issue and threatened to contest the will?  If so, the son will have to hire a lawyer and pay for this litigation.  If your aunt is simply concerned about it, I would suggest she consult with an estate lawyer for an opinion.  I doubt the divorce decree would prevent your aunt from obtaining her inheritance.


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