With more people in the UK getting remarried, it is vital to understand the legal consequences of remarriage and the impact of your remarriage on your existing Will, especially when you have children from a first marriage or an earlier relationship.
If you are getting remarried, the team at Solomons Solicitors can help answer your questions about how your remarriage will affect your existing Will.
Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.
How does a second marriage affect an existing Will
When you remarry your current Will is automatically voided unless the Will is stated to be made in contemplation of your forthcoming remarriage.
A void Will is invalid. That means that your estate will pass under the intestacy rules rather than under the provisions in your Will.
The risks of a void Will
You may think that if your existing Will is voided or cancelled by your remarriage your family will be protected by your assets being distributed under intestacy rules.
When you die without a valid Will the intestacy rules specify who inherits your estate, without any reference to your wishes or the financial or personal circumstances of your family and friends.
Under the current intestacy rules if you remarry (making your existing Will void) your new spouse will inherit your entire estate if your assets are worth under £270,000. If you remarry and have children your spouse will receive the first £270,000 and your personal belongings. The remainder of your estate is split equally between your spouse and your children.
In practice, that means if you have an estate totalling £500,000 and you remarried with 3 children from your first marriage, your second spouse would get the first £270,000 of your estate and half the balance, totalling £385,000. The remaining £115,000 would be split equally between your 3 children. The children would each get around £38,000. You may think this outcome is fair if your children are all adults and you have been remarried for several years. However, in many situations, intestacy rules can produce an unfair outcome resulting in either a husband or wife, or children making a claim against the estate alleging that the intestacy rules do not leave them with reasonable financial provision.
When you decide to remarry you should look at your financial affairs and sort out your legal paperwork to protect your new husband or wife and any other dependants or people that you would like to benefit from your estate.
Remarriage paperwork includes:
- A new Will – this can be signed before your remarriage provided that you name your fiancée and the Will specifically says that it is being made in contemplation of your remarriage. Making a new Will can reduce the risk of an inheritance claim being made against your estate.
- A prenuptial agreement – whilst a Will sets out what happens to your estate if you pass away a prenuptial agreement resolves how assets will be divided if you separate from your new spouse. Without a prenuptial agreement in place, the court has wide discretion over what financial court order it should make. A prenuptial agreement limits the potential for acrimonious divorce financial settlement proceedings.
- Checking your divorce financial settlement court order – if you have been married before, you should ask your Will solicitor to check the wording of your financial court order to make sure you have a clean break financial order. If you do not, your former spouse could bring an inheritance claim against your estate. If you do not have a financial court order a family law solicitor can help you obtain one.
- A new Lasting Power of Attorney – if you already have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place you may want to update it to include your new spouse as an attorney so they can help protect your interests if you become incapacitated.
- Review trust documents - if there is a lifetime trust in place you may want the trust to add your new spouse as a potential beneficiary of the trust.
- Look at your insurance provision and pension nominations – you may want your new husband or wife to benefit from the policies you have in place.
Speak to our Bournemouth-based Will Solicitors today
Solomons Solicitors can help you with all your estate planning, Will, and relationship agreement needs so that you understand your options and you have the legal paperwork you need to provide peace of mind.