25 July 2019

Make sure your will keeps up with your life

Why do I need to think about my will when I am getting married or divorced?

Marriage and divorce both have a significant effect on any existing will, a fact often overlooked in the excitement of the former and the trauma of the latter.

Getting married, or entering into a civil partnership, automatically revokes any existing will unless you made that will in contemplation of that marriage. That’s not just a general clause speculating on any future marriage, but a specific one confirming your intentions towards a particular person.

So updating your will before the big day is very important – if you don’t do so, and you die without a valid will, there could be serious consequences. For instance, if you have married for a second time and have children from your previous relationship, dying without a will can leave both children and your spouse equally exposed. This can lead to expensive and protracted litigation between the parties – in short, nobody wins.

Equally, after the breakdown of a relationship, it’s vital that you review your wishes contained in your will straight away. Often there can be a long period of separation before either party feels ready to take formal steps to end the marriage and during that time there maybe uncertainty about who would, and should, inherit in the event of an unexpected death.

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Brenda Spain, Partner
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