Do I need to redo my will If I’ve gotten married?
That’s a question we get from time to time. Here’s the short answer: Your will is not totally invalid, but it may not be fully followed. And your new spouse may very well be able to claim a portion, if not all of your estate, even if that person is not named as a beneficiary.
The longer answer is this:In Georgia, if you get married AFTER doing your will, and your will does not say that it is made in contemplation of your getting married, then your spouse will be able to claim a share as if you died without a will. That means that your spouse would be entitled to at least 1/3 of the estate, but perhaps more, depending on the facts of your specific situation. Obviously, the net result may be something entirely different than what you wanted.
The Supreme Court of Georgia has held that the will does not have to identify the person you are going to marry for the will to be made in contemplation of marriage. But, it does have to state that it is made in contemplation of getting married in the future. If such a statement is made, and done properly, then the provisions of the will are generally going to be enforced, even if the new spouse is not listed to receive a portion of the estate.
If you have done a will and later gotten married, it is a wise idea to review that will, and your other planning documents with an experienced attorney. You want to make sure that your planning documents are complete and current, comply with the law, and express your wishes so that they can be lawfully followed. In addition to the will, you want to make sure that you have a good advance directive in place, and that you have a durable power of attorney in place and effect, or to become effective if you become incapacitated.
If you’re in Georgia, and you’d like to learn more about estate planning, contact us and request our free guide on the topic, and we’ll send it to you for free, no strings attached. And, if you’re ready to move forward and make sure that your wishes and your family are protected, call us today to chat and see how we can help. The process is likely easier than you think it will be!