Do I need to change my will now that I am married? 17 Answers as of February 17, 2012

I have a will that leaves everything to a friend. I just got married recently. Do I need to change the will or my wife will be entitled to everything regardless of the will?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
Your Will should be updated whenever you undergo a major life event (marriage, child birth, divorce, etc.). Now that you are married and your circumstances have changed, it is a good idea to update your Will for clarity. If you would like your friend to receive your share of any community property that you acquire, you should designate that in your Will. If you would like your spouse to receive your share in community property, that should be outlined in your Will for the sake of clarity.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/14/2011
THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C.
THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C. | Donald B. Lawrence, Jr.
Yes, you should change your will. While your wife could elect against the terms of the will, your friend could still receive something under the will that you most likely would want to go to your wife. Your old will can be revoked simply by destroying (shredding, burning, etc.) the original signed document. However it can also be revoked when you make the new will.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/8/2011
Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC
Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC | Dean D. Stein
If you wish to leave everything to your wife, tear up the original will tonight to revoke it. If anyone has a copy, get it back and tear it up too! While your wife would have rights, why subject her to any question. If she is married to you, and you die without a Will, and you haveno children, she has to split the estate with your parents, if they are alive. So first opportunity, do a new Will that states what your intentions are.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 11/4/2011
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
Under current law, a subsequent marriage will revoke a Will in Nevada. However, it is best to revoke the Will or make a new Will to avoid hurt feelings or uncertainty in the future. You do not need to make a new Will to revoke the one you have. Alternatively, you and your spouse may want to have Wills made that address issues like what if something happens to both of you. In addition to Wills you should consider having powers of attorney (health and financial) and a declaration/living will prepared. We charge $100 for a one hour consultation with an attorney who will provide you with important information regarding your specific case and will able to advise you on the options that you should consider in determining your next steps.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/4/2011
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
The preferable option would be to change your Will. There is the chance that by exercising various protections provided by statute that she would end up with the entire estate but there is no reason to leave that potential uncertainty. You are not obligated to change your Will because you are now married but, if it is your wish that your wife get your estate, put it in writing.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 11/4/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You need to redo your will.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Your marriage does not automatically entitle your spouse to "everything" even if you didn't have a preexisting will; however, in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out, I would recommend that you speak with an attorney regarding updating your estate planning documents.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    A marriage does not supersede your will. You (and your spouse) will want to have your estate plan re-done.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    You need to change the will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    You need to change your Will to avoid any issues later on. Your will can still give your friend rights to your estate so you really need to do a new one and your wife too should also have a Will and other important legal documents such as Power of Attorney for Finances, Healthcare Directive, etc. If you have a home and live in California then you also need a Trust in order to avoid Probate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    An individual should always have their estate planning documents reviewed upon the occurrence of major life events, such as a death, marriage, or births. I would suggest that you have your documents reviewed. The Will is the controlling document at your death, and if you do not change it, in Florida, your spouse may be limited to an elective share of 30% (and possibly only a life estate or 50% interest in the homestead).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas | J. Brian Thomas
    Now is a great time to review your Will. Major life events like marriages, births and deaths can substantially change some of the decisions that you put down on paper previously. There's no requirement that you execute a new Will, but it's certainly a good time to think about doing so particularly if you want your estate to pass to your wife. In Texas, your Will fully disposes of 100% of your separate property and your 50% of the community property that you share with your spouse. If you intend to benefit your wife, you'll need to change your Will. If you still intend to benefit a friend, it's a fine time to visit with an estate planner to make sure that everything remains in order.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    You need to change your will.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/17/2012
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    You wife will not be entitled to everything if there is an existing will that states otherwise. You must change your will. I recommend that you ask an attorney you trust to prepare a new will that reflects your current intent. You will also want to review all beneficiary designations for insurance programs, retirement accounts, etc., and the manner in which real property assets and financial accounts are titled in order to ensure that these assets would pass as you intend.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    Under Oregon law, your marriage would invalidate your existing will unless the existing will was adopted in contemplation of marriage. Even though the existing will would be invalidated, it would be a good idea to prepare a new will to make sure your wishes are carried out, decide what should happen if you have children when you die, and who should get your assets if your wife predeceases you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/4/2011
    DiOrio and Sereni LLP
    DiOrio and Sereni LLP | Robert M. DiOrio
    Yes, you certainly should have a qualified attorney review your Will, and that of your husband, to provide appropriate recommendations and advise.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/4/2011
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