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I’m getting a divorce: what should I do with my will?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2021 | Estate Planning

As if you don’t have enough to think about when going through a divorce, your will is one thing that needs to be addressed. Too many people forget about it and the impact a divorce can have upon their wishes. What it comes down to is this: either you make the changes you want, to reflect your wishes, or the law will do it for you.

What happens to your will after divorce?

It depends on the specifics of your will, but there are a couple of common things most include, if it was completed while you were married. First, you likely have your former spouse named as a beneficiary, for either some of your assets or even all of them. It’s also not unusual for one spouse to name the other spouse as the executor for their estate.

However, Mississippi Code Section 91-21-1 negates these provisions of your will as soon as the divorce is final. If you passed away without doing any revisions to your will, Mississippi probate law will treat the circumstances as if your former spouse passed away before you did – even if they did not. If you named them your executor in the will, they will not be permitted to assume that role. And they will have no rights to any assets to which you named them a beneficiary.

Instead, the court will proceed as if you had named no executor, and appoint one in accordance with probate law. And the assets you designated to your former spouse will be divided as if you left no will at all. If you choose to still have your former spouse in your will, you certainly can. You simply need to execute a new will, after the divorce, which includes them. If you no longer want them in your will, you should still complete a new one. Doing so will ensure that any assets you previously intended to go to your former spouse will now go to the beneficiary of your choice.