What Happens to My Will After a Divorce?

In Tennessee, any person over the age of 18 that is of sound mind can execute a last will and testament. If a married person in Tennessee makes a will and then later divorces or has the marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment will revoke any gift made to the former spouse under the will. Tennessee Code Annotated section 31-1-202(a) states:

“If after executing a will the testator is divorced or the testator’s marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise.”

It is important to remember that, even if these provisions are revoked by your divorce/annulment, they can be revived by a subsequent marriage to the same individual. Furthermore, all spouses in Tennessee should know that a legal separation does not revoke these provisions, as the separation does not actually terminate the marriage. This is established in Tennessee Code Annotated section 32-1-202(d):

“For purposes of this section, divorce or annulment means any divorce or annulment that would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of §31-1-102(b). A decree of separation that does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a divorce for purposes of this section.”

If you and your spouse have legally separated, you may want to consider updating your will.

If you have questions about updating your will to ensure your final wishes are fulfilled, contact our office today for a free consultation. We serve all of Middle Tennessee in preparing wills, including the following counties: Davidson County, Williamson County, Maury County, Sumner County, Rutherford County, Dickson County, Wilson County, Montgomery County and Cheatham County.

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