Does Divorce Invalidate a Will In Georgia?

No, a divorce does not invalidate an entire valid will in Georgia, but state law does automatically revoke any provisions in favor of the former spouse and treats the former spouse as having predeceased the testator.  There are exceptions to this rule.

Georgia Law On the Effect Of Divorce On a Will

Section 53-4-49 of the Georgia Probate Code governs the effect of a testator’s divorce, annulment, or remarriage to a former spouse and states:

All provisions of a will made prior to a testator’s final divorce or the annulment of the testator’s marriage in which no provision is made in contemplation of such event shall take effect as if the former spouse had predeceased the testator, and the provisions of Code Section 53-4-64 shall not apply with respect to the descendants of the former spouse who are not also descendants of the testator. If the testator remarries the former spouse and the testator has not revoked or amended the will that was made prior to the divorce or annulment, the remarriage shall not result in the revocation of the will and the provisions of the will that were revoked solely due to the application of this Code section shall be revived.

The provisions of this statute apply to all provisions in favor of the former spouse under the will, including nomination as the personal representative of the estate or other fiduciary.

By way of example, if a testator gets divorced but dies with a will that named the testator’s former spouse as a beneficiary, the former spouse is treated as having predeceased the testator.  If descendants of the former spouse who are not also descendants of the testator survive the testator, these descendants will not be entitled to any portion of the decedent’s estate if their only claim to the estate is as beneficiaries who were substituted in place of the ”predeceased” former spouse under Georgia Code Section 53-4-64.

What Happens Under the Will If the Divorced Couple Remarries?

Georgia Code Section 53-4-49 also provides that the remarriage of the testator to the former spouse will cause the will done pre-divorce to become effective again if there has been no intervening change in that will.

Can a Former Spouse Inherit After Divorce Under Georgia Law?

Yes.  Just because the parties have divorced does not mean that a testator cannot provide for the former spouse through a will or other testamentary instrument.  However, in order to do so, the testator must make a will after the divorce is final which provides for the former spouse.

 

General Probate Issues