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The Wedding Bells and Divorce Papers: How Marriage and Divorce Affect Your Will

by TFS Admin 18th September 2023

In the whirlwind of wedding planning, discussing Wills might not be at the forefront of your mind. However, it is important to understand that significant life events, such as getting married or going through a divorce, can have an impact on your existing Will.

Marriage and Wills

If you already have a valid Will and are planning to tie the knot, you should know that getting married typically revokes your existing Will, unless that Will was specifically created in anticipation of your marriage.

To ensure your Will remains in effect after marriage, it must be explicitly made "in contemplation of marriage". This means that your Will should name your intended spouse and express your intention to marry them.

Failing to create a new Will after marriage can lead to a scenario where you pass away intestate, which means without a Will. In such cases, your estate Will be distributed based on intestacy laws, which may not align with your wishes. For instance, did you know that your spouse would not automatically get your entire estate if you have children?

Divorce and Wills

Contrary to what you may think, getting a divorce doesn't automatically revoke your Will. However, it does have significant implications:

1. Executor and Beneficiary Considerations: If you had appointed your ex-spouse as an executor or beneficiary in your Will, a divorce will usually render those clauses ineffective. It's essential to review and update your Will post-divorce to ensure your estate aligns with your new circumstances and preferences.

2. Separation and Ongoing Divorce: If you're currently separated or in the process of divorce, it's advisable to revisit your Will during this period. While legal proceedings are underway, your spouse may still have certain rights under your Will, so timely updates can help safeguard your wishes.

Whether you're preparing for marriage, navigating divorce, or simply want to ensure that your Will accurately reflects your wishes, consulting with a legal professional is essential.

Our Specialist Private Client Team is here to assist you in making a new Will or reviewing your existing one to ensure that your estate is distributed precisely as you desire. Click here to meet our team and see more about how we can help.

This blog was written by Alexandra Blackledge, a Solicitor within our Private Client Team. She has an average rating of 5/5 stars on ReviewSolicitors. If you would like to contact Alexandra, call 01926 887700.