Updated: Apr 1
A divorce influences practically every part of your life, from your everyday routine to your long-term goals and future plans. It also changes your legal status and commitments, including the status of your estate plan.
Estate plans are regularly updated to reflect your current living situation, especially after significant events, like a divorce. However, working through estate plans is difficult on your own. That's why a Texas estate planning attorney is useful. They can assist you in determining what estate plan changes are warranted after a divorce.
Your Ex's Status
Under Texas law, any accommodations for your previous spouse in the will are rendered null and void. Many people choose their spouse to be an executor (unless you had the foresight to choose a backup). Such people will be executor-less after a divorce. In case there’s no executor, the court will appoint an executor (and have a say in the choice).
Since your ex is out of the picture, your will may be left with huge holes. For instance, if you had previously left your estate to your spouse, it won't be clear as to how your estate should be distributed now. Scrapping this will and making a new one is generally a good idea.
Minors and Guardianship
Guardianship arrangements for minors may not necessarily be influenced by the separation. In the event that you pass, guardianship of your children typically goes to the other parent (assuming the said parent is now your ex).
Notwithstanding, this doesn't need to happen if you don't want it to for some reason—such as not having confidence in your ex's ability to adequately care for your children.
In these cases, you need to change the named guardian in your will. All reasons won't be enough for this clause to be respected. For instance, if you simply don't want the other parent to care for your children because you don't like them, the clause won't be successful. This arrangement will typically only be successful if the other parent is inaccessible or unfit to care for their children.
If you've undergone a divorce and are looking for assistance with altering your current will or drafting a new will, contact us at Mike Massey Law. We have estate planning attorneys and will lawyers in Houston, Travis, Austin, and Harris County.