Can an Ex-spouse Accidentally Inherit Property?

Possibly. I’ve previously written that a divorce voids any will provision in favor of  an ex-spouse or his/her family. EC123.001(b), 201.001. If a new will is executed giving the ex-spouse property after the divorce or if the provision in favor of the ex-spouse is added to a will after the divorce, then those provisions in favor of the ex-spouse are valid. Likewise, I’ve previously written that a properly executed codicil republishes the will as of the date of the codicil. 280 2d 731. So, what does this all mean.

Problems After Divorce and Codicils

Let’s say a couple is divorced. Any provision in their wills in favor of the other one is void. Sometime later, the husband makes a codicil adding a small gift to his church. Because the codicil republishes the will as of the date of the codicil, those old provisions in the will in favor of the ex-spouse that were voided by the divorce now are brought back to life! The ex-spouse may inherit although that is not what is intended. The message for today is to go to your attorney and make a new will after a divorce. Otherwise, things that you don’t want to happen can happen.