While most couples provide sufficient attention to their property and custody issues during a divorce, wills are commonly overlooked. In the blog below, Dawes Legal, LLC, addresses changing your will to reflect your changed marital status.
Many people forget that they have provisions for their spouses in their wills, and these provisions should change upon divorce. In Ohio, you can modify your will whenever you choose and for any reason, including divorce. You can change your will using what is called a “codicil.” A codicil is a written amendment to change a portion of your will. You can modify certain provisions, or you can revoke the will and rewrite it entirely.
Remember that your divorce alone will not serve as a change to your will, and you will need to make separate, specific changes. Keep these things in mind with regard to your will throughout your divorce process:
- Reference your will in your divorce agreement. A good way to make sure you take care of your will is to reference it in the divorce agreement. You can use the agreement to introduce and make not of codicils you have or intend to create, or you can use it to revoke your will.
- Review your entire will and make all necessary changes. When changing your will to reflect your divorce, remember to review the entire document and change every portion that references your spouse. Often, people will remove property provisions for their spouses but will forget to change their executors or personal representatives. You want to avoid a situation in which your former spouse is still your executor upon your death.
- Change your will prior to finalizing your divorce. Even when people remember that they need to amend their wills upon divorce, most do not consider the possibility of death before the divorce is finalized. If you die during your divorce proceedings and before you have changed your will, your spouse will likely receive everything provided to him or her under the old will. While Ohio laws provide for spouses in some ways that cannot be overcome by a will, you should still disinherit your spouse as soon as possible during the divorce proceedings. This is the best way to ensure your current wishes with regard to your property are carried out when you pass.
As always, it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney to help you protect all through the entire process of your divorce. Attorney Shannon Dawes has extensive experience in both divorce law and estate planning, and she can make sure you take all necessary steps to change your existing will to reflect your divorce or dissolution of marriage. Contact Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999, today to discuss your will and its application to your divorce.