A Texan recently asked a great question in Paul Premack’s San Antonio Express-News legal column:  Does an ex-husband or ex-wife inherit under a Last Will and Testament that was drawn up before the divorce?

Is The Will Revoked After Divorce?  Will An Ex-Spouse Inherit Pursuant To a Will in Texas?

No. The Will is still valid after divorce.  However, as soon as there’s a divorce decree, an ex-spouse automatically gets written out of the Will.  Any parts of the Will that don’t name the ex-spouse remain intact.  If you’re interested in the details, read Texas Estates Code 123.

What Happens To The Provisions In My Will That Name My Ex-Spouse?

The Texas Estate Code says that an ex-husband or ex-wife will be treated as if he/she predeceased the person who made the Will.  In other words, under the law, the probate court will read the Last Will as if the ex-spouse had passed away beforehand.

Should I Change My Will After I Get A Divorce?

Yes. You should change your Will after you get a divorce in Texas.  Because any provisions in your Last Will naming your ex-spouse automatically change upon the divorce decree, what’s left of your Will may not make sense.  When you wrote the Last Will, you may have intended your ex-spouse to get everything and to be named executor of your estate. Now that those provisions have changed, are the alternates you named still what you want?

Do I Need To Change My Power of Attorney After Divorce?

Yes.  You should change your Power of Attorney (both your “durable power of attorney” and “medical power of attorney”) after divorce.  Similar to the Texas law dealing with divorce’s effect on Wills, your ex-spouse will be automatically written out of your power of attorney upon divorce decree.  As such, you need to update these legal documents to reflect who you would like to serve in your ex-spouse’s place.

I Want My Ex-Spouse To Be Named In My Last Will or Power of Attorney.  Can My Ex-Spouse Inherit From My Will After Divorce?

Yes.  Some ex-spouses remain friends after divorce and would still want to name each other in their Wills and Powers of Attorney.  It is not illegal to name ex-spouse in a Last Will or Power of Attorney.  To make this happens the way you want, go see your attorney after the final divorce decree to have your Last Will and Power of Attorney updated.  If you write your Will after the divorce decree, then the ex-spouse you name will not be automatically written out of your legal documents.

Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on a will beneficiary, inheritance in Texas, ex-husband and ex-wife inheritance and power of attorney provisions, ex-spouse inheritance, or the effect of divorce on a Will in Dallas, contact Richardson, Texas lawyer Isaac Shutt at ishutt@shuttlawfirm.com.

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


You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you need letters testamentary, division of an estate, Last Will and Testament, or a probate lawyer in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, TX 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. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney 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 attorney Isaac Shutt sign an engagement letter with the Shutt Law Firm, PLLC.