What impact does a divorce or annulment have on a written will in Tennessee?

Posted on Aug 4 2013 4:17PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

If a will is executed by a testator and then the testator becomes subsequently divorced or the marriage is annulled then that event revokes any benefits for the former spouse under the will.  T.C.A. § 32-1-202(a) provides as follows:


(a) If after executing a will the testator is divorced or the testator's marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise.


Interestingly, if the individuals remarry and the provisions were revoked solely by T.C.A. § 32-1-202, then the provisions of the will are revived by the subsequent remarriage.  Additionally, under T.C.A. § 32-1-202(d) a decree of separation does not actually terminate the actual status of husband and wife and is not considered a divorce for purposes of this section.  This sections provides:


(d) For purposes of this section, divorce or annulment means any divorce or annulment that would exclude the spouse as a surviving spouse within the meaning of § 31-1-102(b). A decree of separation that does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a divorce for purposes of this section.


Obviously, this statute needs to be considered anytime there is an individual who dies who has been divorced when they still have any provision for their ex-spouse in their will. 


Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Wills and Estates blog.

TAGS: Wills, Divorce/Annulment, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com