If a married couple has a Will, can onespouse change it after the otherspouse dies?

UPDATED: Oct 21, 2011

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If a married couple has a Will, can onespouse change it after the otherspouse dies?

My uncle and my aunt had a Will but my aunt died 2 years ago. Can my uncle change the Will now that she is gone?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Generally speaking, if all the assets of the estate of your aunt and uncle passed one to the other on his death then yes, your uncle can now re-do his Will to distrbute hisassets that remain as he so chooses.  Did he probate his wife's Will or was there even a need to do so (if assets are jointly held then they pass one to the other automatically at the time of death; called sometimes "by operation of law.").  You should really take the Wills to an attorney in the area to review and give you a formal opinion on the matter.  There may be some quirk in the Will or state law that takes this out of "generalities."  Good luck.

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