Isa Will still valid after marriage?

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Isa Will still valid after marriage?

A woman owns assets passed down through her birth family. She writes a Will leaving her assets to her boyfriend. She marries her boyfriend after writing the Will. She develops a terminal illness and passes away. Her husband receives advice that the marriage invalidated the Will and that the estate must go through probate. She has no children. Her parents have passed away. The closest relative from her birth family is one sister. Does the sister have a claim against the estate>

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Marriage does not automatically invalidate a will--and nor, for  that matter, does divorce. Certainly, the will could contain language that would change the dispotion of property in the event of marriage (e.g. "I leave my estate to my sister, unless I shall marry, in which case it shall be left to my husband"), but unless the will, but its very terms, would be altered by marriage, marrying does not affect the will.

In addition, if the former boyfriend, now husband, is still alive, then he would be the one to inherit under intestate succession (what happens when there is no will), not a sister, in every state with whose laws I am familiar.


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