Estate Planning Alert

Review of Wills for Newly Married Couples

Hershner Hunter, LLP

Many same-sex couples who are now getting married as a result of the recent Oregon federal district court ruling may be revoking their wills without knowing it.

Oregon law generally provides that marriage revokes an existing will.  Many previously-unmarried Oregon couples may now opt to get married in light of the court ruling overturning Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage.  Those couples may not realize the risk that their wills may be revoked by their marriage.  Professional advisors should encourage these couples to review their wills.  If each person’s will does not include a clear statement that the will is to remain in effect even if the couple marries, then both spouses should take steps to ensure their wills remain valid, which may include completing a codicil to the will with a statement that the will remain in effect and not be revoked by the marriage.

Clients with revocable living trusts who later marry should also review their trusts.  Marriage does not revoke a revocable living trust under Oregon law.  However, most clients with trusts will also have pour-over wills that should be reviewed.

If you have questions, please contact any member of The Estate and Business Planning Practice Group:

William D. Brewer
Arthur J. Clark
Nicholas M. Frost
Mark R. Kannen

This article provides general information and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. If you have specific legal questions, you are urged to consult with counsel concerning your own situation.