Marriage automatically revokes a Will. Therefore, if you have recently married, or are engaged to be married, you should consider writing a new Will that will take effect once you have become married.
Divorce also impacts upon your existing Will. Anna Taylor, Head of our Family Team, advises the following:
“Making a Will is vitally important when someone is getting divorced. People often know that divorce affects inheritance under a Will (you are told as much on the face of the Decree Absolute) but are generally less familiar with the other ways divorce impacts on a Will and ultimately your wishes upon your death.”
Anna identifies three ways that divorce impacts on a Will:
If, for example, during your marriage you had appointed your spouse as executor, that appointment fails upon divorce. This means that if your now ex-spouse was your sole executor, there would be no appointed executor to administer your estate.
If you have children you need to make sure that guardianship appointments are addressed in a new Will to reflect your wishes. Issues of parental responsibility for your children need to be considered and can be addressed in a Will.
As an additional point, thought should also be given to any potential claim by an ex-spouse when drafting a new Will. This is particularly important if the divorce does not give one spouse a financial “clean break” against the other. In those circumstances, the spouse receiving the maintenance or periodical payments is potentially a “dependant” upon the estate. A carefully drafted new Will should address this too.”
Unfortunately, unmarried couples who have lived together for a long time do not have any automatic right to inherit from their partner without a Will. It is therefore important to think about writing a Will so that your wishes are adhered to.
If you have been affected by this Trigger, please do get in touch to discuss updating your Will. If you are unfortunately experiencing difficulties in your marriage, Anna would be very happy to discuss these matters with you.