If you are going through a divorce or separation, updating your Will might not be high on your to-do list. However, you should review it urgently. Otherwise, you risk leaving little to nothing for those who matter to you.
If you are experiencing a significant life change and need help adjusting your Will accordingly, we are here to help. Contact our Wills Lawyers today for advice on your circumstances.
How does divorce affect your Will?
If you are divorced, your current Will remains valid. This presents two issues. Firstly, your will may no longer reflect your intentions. Many married people name their spouse as a beneficiary, trustee or executor, but fewer want them to remain so after divorce.
Secondly, for inheritance purposes, your ex-partner is treated as though they had died when your marriage or civil partnership was dissolved. If your former spouse is named in your Will and it does not specify what should happen if they predecease you, some or all of your estate might be divided in line with intestacy rules. These rules can leave people you want to inherit, like a new partner or dependants, without provision.
What happens to your Will if you are separated from your partner but not legally divorced?
Separation does not affect your Will since you and your spouse remain legally married. Regardless of how long you have been separated, your spouse could still inherit under your Will if you have not updated it.
Similarly, if you die without a Will, your spouse would inherit under the rules of intestacy and your entire estate, or at least a considerable portion of it, would pass to them.
Reasonable financial provision
The concept of reasonable provision exists to protect certain people who are financially dependent on you. If they feel inadequately provided for by your will, they could challenge it and claim a financial award under the Inheritance Act.
Depending on your situation, your former partner could be entitled to claim. As well as disrupting the probate process, this possibility could prove costly. We strongly recommend that you take legal advice when writing a new Will to minimise the chances of it being contested.
What to do now
If you are going through a major life change like a separation or divorce, it is vital to update your Will. It is especially important to do so if you have a new partner or dependants, as they are unlikely to be entitled to anything under your Will as it stands. The only way to ensure that they are taken care of is to make your current wishes explicit with a new, precisely-drafted Will .
Speak to our Bournemouth-based Wills Lawyers today
Solomons Solicitors understand that writing your Will can be difficult at the best of times, and all the more demanding when substantial changes are occurring in your life. Our expert team will make sure your will enshrines your intentions and preserves your assets for those you want to benefit.