Effect of Marriage and Divorce on a Will

Like every other law in the country, the probate law also differs from one state to another. While most states follow similar patterns for determining the validity of a particular will or testament, the same may not be true in the case of heirs and the way major life events affect your will.

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Here’s how the probate law works in Georgia:

The Effect of Marriage on a Will

If you get married after you’ve already made a will, the will stays effective as is in Georgia. However, since the law requires that the spouse be entitled to at least one year’s support from the deceased’s state, your husband or wife will get precedence for one year’s financial support stemming from the estate over all other beneficiaries of the will. The estate that remains will then be distributed among the other beneficiaries as per your will.

In case you make a will before getting married and include the contemplation of marriage provision; it will help you avoid the statutory 1/3 minimum share of spouse in your estate. You can then distribute the property as you desire, making sure to include your spouse in the beneficiaries.

If you don’t include the contemplation of marriage provision in your will, you should draft a new will immediately after your marriage.

The Effect of Divorce on a Will

Divorce normally does not invalidate your will altogether. In Georgia, just like many other states, divorce will usually remove your ex-spouse from the list of beneficiaries. In case you created a new will after your marriage, which later ended up in divorce the courts will treat the scenario as is the spouse predeceased you.

This essentially means that they cannot act as executor, even if you’ve named them so. Also, if there is part of the estate that you’ve left in their name, they will not receive it. Also, in such cases anything that was bequeathed to them by you would be counted as part of your estate and then distributed to the remaining beneficiaries as per the will.