Do I Need to Change My Will if I Get Divorced?

What happens in Texas if you make a Last Will and Testament naming your spouse as your beneficiary and then get divorced? Does your ex-husband or ex-wife still inherit as a beneficiary under your Will?


Effect of Divorce on Last Will and Testament in Texas

Once you are divorced, under Texas law, your ex-spouse does not inherit in your Will as a beneficiary. Instead, after divorce, your Last Will and Testament automatically changes to read as if your ex-spouse died before you. So, your alternate beneficiary will inherit under your Will instead of your ex-husband or ex-wife.  Note that this is only true if the divorce has been finalized. Under Texas law, if you’ve only filed for divorce or are separated from your spouse, but haven’t finalized your divorce, your estranged spouse is still entitled to inherit as a beneficiary under your Will.


Effect of Divorce on Life Insurance in Texas

What happens with your life insurance if you named your ex-spouse as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy? The same thing. Under Texas law, your ex-husband or ex-wife is not a beneficiary under your life insurance policy.  In other words, Texas law automatically changes your life insurance beneficiary designations when you get divorced.  Unless you add your former spouse to your life insurance again after you get divorced, your ex-husband or ex-wife will not be a life insurance beneficiary.


Exceptions to the General Rules Above

Prove the original Will’s contents by having witness testimony from someone who read or heard the contents Will. With a Copy of the Will, the witness will testify that he or she recognizes the copy of the Will to be just that.


Other Problems with a Copy of a Will in Texas

There are exceptions, which allow your ex-spouse to be a beneficiary in your Will or life insurance policy:

  • If you remarry your ex-spouse.
  • If your Will specifically states that you want your spouse to inherit even if you get divorced from that person.
  • Federal insurance benefits and federal retirement plans might still go to your ex-spouse if you don’t update forms after you get divorced.


Free Consultation

To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas wills and Texas probate lawyers Isaac Shutt and Peter Hall, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the law office in person, the attorneys will gladly offer a free consultation.

Visit for more information on how to change your Texas Will after divorce, inheritance for ex-spouses, what ex-spouses inherit if there is no Will, or related Wills and Probate Law questions, contact Texas Probate Attorneys Isaac Shutt and Peter Hall at

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, Texas, and just south of Plano. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Mr. Shutt (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter.
Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know more about probate in Texas, more about a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Richardson Probate Attorneys serving Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Denton, TX, Collin County, Tarrant County, or surrounding North Texas area.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and and an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.

By Elizabeth Nanez