Effect of marriage or divorce on your Will

The effect of marriage and divorce on your Will…

According to latest data from the Office of National Statistics, there were 245,513 marriages and 107,071 divorces in England and Wales. What happens to the couples who already have a Will in place? We take a look at how marriage and divorce affects both you and your partner’s Wills…

Preparing to get married is an exciting time that comes with lots of planning, but many couples often overlook their Wills. It might surprise you to know that when you get married, your Will is automatically revoked. It’s worth sitting down with your partner and reviewing your current Wills – this is especially crucial if you intend to leave some of your assets to someone else such as a child or grandchild.

If you don’t draw up a new Will after you marry, the law of intestacy will step in – this means that your assets could be distributed in a way which is not in line with your wishes. The most effective way to remedy this is to appoint a professional Will writer to help create wills for both you and your partner.

What happens to my Will if I get divorced?

In the case of divorce, your Will is still valid but your ex-partner’s role as executor of your Will is automatically cancelled. As the Will takes effect as if he or she had died on the date the decree became absolute, if you’ve left everything to them, the rules of intestacy will apply.

As a result, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider:

Beneficiaries: If your ex-partner was entitled to the majority of your estate in your Will then you’ll need to appoint a new beneficiary such as a sibling or child.

Executors: The best action to take is to appoint more than one executor. An executor must be over 18 years of age and can be the beneficiary if you prefer.

Including ex-spouse: Of course, you can still leave assets to your ex-spouse. If you have a financial obligation to them then you may want to re-adjust your Will so they can’t make further claims on your estate in court.

Inheritance tax: During your marriage, your partner would have been exempt from inheritance liability (IHT). However, your estate now only has a tax-free limit of £325,000 unless the beneficiary is a new spouse.

What happens to my Will if I get remarried?

Similar to the process when you get married the first time around, if you get remarried your current Will is invoked. If you don’t draw up a new Will, then your estate will be divided under the rules of intestacy. Usually this means your estate will be split between your spouse and your children. If you don’t have children, your estate will go to your spouse and your siblings.

If you’re just getting married or are going through a divorce, it’s important to check your Will or seek the help of a professional to check for you.

For expert advice on amending or drafting a Will, speak to one of our professionals at legalmatters today. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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