A divorce or annulment of your marriage in California directly effects your will. Only devises to the former spouse are revoked by divorce. The rest of the will remains valid. The property that does not go to your ex-spouse passes as if the spouse had predeceased you. Remarriage to your former spouse revives that part of your will that was for the spouse’s benefit; cohabitation following dissolution is not enough to revive the will for your ex’s benefit.
Probate Code Section 6122 provides that:
(a) Unless the will expressly provides otherwise, if after executing a will the testator’s marriage is dissolved or annulled, the dissolution or annulment revokes all of the following:
(1) Any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse.
(2) Any provision of the will conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse.
(3) Any provision of the will nominating the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian.
(b) If any disposition or other provision of a will is revoked solely by this section, it is revived by the testator’s remarriage to the former spouse.
(c) In case of revocation by dissolution or annulment:
(1) Property prevented from passing to a former spouse because of the revocation passes as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator.
(2) Other provisions of the will conferring some power or office on the former spouse shall be interpreted as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator.
(d) For purposes of this section, dissolution or annulment means any dissolution or annulment which would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of Section 78. A decree of legal separation which does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a dissolution for purposes of this section.
(e) Except as provided in Section 6122.1, no change of circumstances other than as described in this section revokes a will.
Revise your California will and trust after your divorce is complete. Call an estate planning attorney for help. Call Mitchell A. Port at 310.559.5259.