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Weeks after the sad death of Larry King, his widow is now challenging his will in court. Larry King’s widow, Shawn Southwick King is arguing that her husband did not have the mental capacity to draft a will, which he wrote two months after filing for divorce from Shawn. She is also stating that he was influenced by other people when creating his will. Although Larry King had already filed for divorce, the case was not yet finalized. While the case contesting the will is still ongoing, it does highlight the need for divorcing couples to revise their wills when their marriage has come to an end.
A last will and testament is the foundation of many estate plans. Within a will, a person can state their wishes pertaining to the distribution of their assets upon their death. Wills can also name an executor, or the person responsible for managing the estate during the probate process, as well as the guardianship of minor children.
The law in Illinois states that when a person gets a divorce and has a valid will in place, the will remains valid and the probate courts will not revoke it. However, any provisions that pertain to the deceased’s former spouse are revoked. The law treats these wills as though the former spouse passed away before the testator did.
Even though the probate courts will automatically revoke any provision of your will that refers to your former spouse, you should still change your will after getting a divorce. In fact, you should make the necessary changes to your will even before your case is finalized. If you pass away before the divorce is finalized, the provisions regarding your spouse will remain intact and they may receive a portion of your estate you no longer want them to have.
You may also want to change your will once your divorce is finalized. At this time, the division of assets may have changed the amount of property you own, and you may also want to make other changes. It is also important to change your will after a divorce because while the provisions regarding your spouse will be revoked, others may not. For example, if you named your in-laws as the guardian of your children, that provision will be enforced even after you get a divorce.
Depending on the relationship between you and your spouse, you may want to keep them in your will as a beneficiary or so they can manage your estate. Even in these instances, you should still create a will so there is no confusion and your last wishes are carried out.
When getting a divorce, there is a lot to think about. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our knowledgeable DuPage County family lawyers can advise on all aspects of your case including what you should do before, during, and after your divorce. If you are getting a divorce, call us today at 630-920-8855 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.