What Happens to a Will if There’s a Name Change?

last will and testament

There are a number of reasons that people choose to change their name, from marriage to divorce. However, this can make it tricky when executing a will. Luckily California understands that many beneficiaries may undergo a name change for whatever reason, and it shouldn’t impact how the will is executed. If there is uncertainty surrounding a beneficiary who changed their first or last name, you’ll want to keep reading to learn about this circumstance and discover how a Woodland Hills will attorney can help you navigate any confusion that may arise.

Is a Will Still Valid Following a Name Change?

In most instances, your will is still valid following a name change. For example, if you leave parts of your estate to your daughter Suzie Smith, but she changes her name to Suzie Brown after she is married, she will still inherit the assets you left her. While she will likely need to provide evidence of a name change, this should not present an issue.

You can also specify that you would like this portion of your estate to go “to my daughter, Suzie Smith,” should there be another Suzie Smith in your life who could claim they are the rightful owner of the inheritance. This helps prove the intention of the will would go to your daughter, even if her married name differs from what was written in the document.

When Could It Be a Problem?

If there is a name change, it could be an issue, especially if there is no clear indication of who you planned on leaving your assets to. For example, if you have a son and grandson with the same name but do not specify your relationship to the intended beneficiary it can be difficult for your executor to determine which person with that name was the intended beneficiary.

In this instance, three things could happen. Your executor could distribute your assets to the wrong person, the state could render your will invalid, or the court may rectify your will.

What Is the Best Way to Ensure My Estate Plan Is Free From Issues?

It’s essential to understand that the main focus of the distribution of assets after your passing will be based on your intent instead of the actual writing. This means a misspelling or name change shouldn’t affect your will. However, there is still the possibility that it will, so remedying errors as soon as possible is essential. Similarly, if someone named in your will undergoes a name change, you’ll want to add a codicil to your document, updating the information.

You can also enlist the help of the talented legal team from the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to help you create your estate plan. We can help ensure your wording is specific enough that an unexpected name page will not derail or invalidate your will. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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