What does my spouse get if I divorce after making a Will?
An ex-spouse is treated, for purposes of interpreting a Will, as though the ex-spouse had predeceased the testator on the day of the decree of divorce. Functionally, this means that an ex-spouse can neither inherit nor exercise powers, such as becoming personal representative, with respect to the Will of an ex-spouse. RCW 11.12.051.
The United States Supreme Court decided (in the Egelhoff v. Egelhoff case) that federal laws governing the beneficiaries of retirement assets (ERISA assets, such as IRAs, 401Ks, pensions, and so forth) supercede Washington's rule stated above. After divorce, a person must expressly change the beneficiary of her retirement assets or, upon death, the ex-spouse of the decedent will take the retirement assets pursuant to the provisions of the federal ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) statute.
AFTER DIVORCE, CHANGE THE BENEFICIARIES ON YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS.