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What You Need to Know About Marriage, Divorce & Your Will

 

Marriage and divorce can be an overwhelming experience, made even more daunting when considering how it may impact your estate planning.

Here are a few things you may not know about how marriage and divorce may affect your Will.

 

Marriage Revokes Your Will

 

Your Will is revoked when you get married.

Therefore if you prepare a Will, get married and pass away without preparing a new Will, your estate may be decided under the laws of intestacy.

More information about this here.

 

You Can Prepare a Will in Contemplation of Marriage

 

Although marriage revokes your Will, you can prepare a Will in contemplation of marriage.

If your Will does not expressly state it is made in contemplation of marriage, you will need to prepare a new Will if you get married.

Divorce may (likely) exclude your former spouse.

If you get divorced, your Will is read as if your former spouse has passed away before you.

Consequently, the remaining provisions of your Will stay the same besides any references to your former spouse.

For example, the provisions appointing your former spouse as your executor or bequeathing your estate to him or her will no longer be valid.

More information about this here.

 

You Can Appoint Your Former Spouse as Your Executor and Bequeath to Him/Her Your Estate

 

If after divorce you wish to appoint your former spouse as your executor or bequeath to them your estate, you must expressly state that in your Will after you are divorced.

If you do not expressly state your intention, your former spouse may be excluded from your Will, however, they may still be able to make a claim against your estate.

 

Your Spouse May Be Entitled – Even if You Have Separated

 

If you prepared a Will when you were married, and have separated from your spouse and have not yet divorced, they are still entitled to a provision from your estate (if there is a provision in your Will).

If you do not wish for them to receive anything from your estate, you must prepare a new Will making your intentions clear.

 

Property Settlements Will Not Always Protect You

 

Unfortunately, under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (SA), your former spouse may still be able to make a claim on your estate irrespective of the contents of your Will if your intention is not made clear.

Property settlement will not always be sufficient to prevent your former spouse from making a claim against your estate.

Note:  If you are in a de facto relationship or have separated from a de facto partner, then the above does not apply.

In short, it is important to review your Will regularly.

Contact Us

 

For more information, contact Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.

You can view more information about our Estate Planning services here.

Related Blog – What is a Testamentary Trust?