Previously, we discussed the New York legislature’s enactment of default post-divorce probate statutes. These rules help divorced residents who failed to revise their wills after divorcing their former spouses. If you bequeathed your property to your former spouse while you were married and before your divorce, New York law treats your former spouse as having predeceased you. In this case, the specific bequests to your spouse would fail by operation of law, and your next-of-kin or surviving heir will inherit your property.
However, not all divorces are acrimonious, and some spouses may even remain close friends after they divorce. Although rare, these situations exist. If you and your former spouse remain trusted friends, and you do not want to change your will and dispositions of property in her favor, you need to make sure your will reflects this intent. Your probate attorney should incorporate language that specifically states that you amended your will or redrafted your will after your divorce. Furthermore, your will should contain specific language stating that you intended that your former spouse remain a beneficiary under your will after your divorce became final. Adding this language can prove that you reviewed your will after your divorce and chose to keep it the same.
By taking proper legal steps and scheduling an appointment with our office, we may be able to help you draft your post-divorce estate planning documents accordingly. We can tailor your estate planning documents accordingly by considering your personal needs. You may also ask us to help you draft a new will if you remarry and make special provisions taking into account your blended family’s needs.