Life changing events such as marriage and divorce can affect your will. If you get married, any previous will you have made will automatically be revoked and will no longer be valid. You must make a new one, otherwise when you die the rules of intestacy will apply, and that may not be appropriate for your situation.
Under the rules of intestacy your estate, up to £250,000 will go to your new spouse, with the remainder being split between any children you may have. If you are not survived by a marriage partner then your estate will pass to your children and then parents and then on to more remote relatives. There are a number of reasons that this may not be appropriate. For example you may want your will to provide for your children.
You can avoid this by clearly stating in your will that it is not to be affected by marriage to a specific person. However, you must name that person; the clause cannot exist as a general provision that the will is not to be affected by any marriage. You could also make a will before your marriage and refer to your upcoming marriage for example; “in anticipation of marriage to…” You must be aware that it is essential that the wording of this is correct in order for it to be valid.
If you and your spouse divorce, the will created by your marriage will not be invalid but it will be affected. Once divorce is finalised, the courts treat any gift in the will to your ex partner in the same way it would if they had died. This usually means the gift will be passed to any other beneficiaries of your will. If everything in your will was left to your spouse then the rules of intestacy will apply again. This means your estate could go to remote family members and failing that, your estate will pass to the government.
It is very important to make sure you make a will to ensure that you name appropriate beneficiaries for your estate and to make provision for any donation to charity you wish to make. Life changing events can affect who will benefit from your will so it is important to make a new will upon marriage and divorce.
If you would like to make or amend your last will and testament, contact one of our specialist solicitors today and arrange an appointment.