FAQs About Wills

Will Signed Before Marriage Doesn’t Make Provision for Spouse

by Rania Combs

A widow contacted me this week. Her husband of 19 years had recently passed away. She found a Will he had signed before they met leaving everything to his mother. He didn’t sign a new Will after they were married. She wondered what her inheritance rights were.

Some states have pretermitted spouse statutes. The statutes provide that if a person marries after making a Will that omits his or her spouse, the surviving spouse will inherit a share of the estate equal to that which the surviving spouse would have received if the testator had died intestate.

Texas does not have a pretermitted spouse statute. In Texas, marriage does not invalidate a valid preexisting Will. If you make a Will before you get married, and would like your new spouse to be your beneficiary, it is important that you update your Will.

Please note that spouses in Texas are afforded certain constitutional rights. For more information read: Can I Disinherit My Spouse in Texas?

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