The Impact of Marriage and Divorce on your Will

HEP The Impact of Marriage and Divorce on your Will

Whether you’re tying the knot or preparing for a divorce, there are certain impacts on your Will, potentially impacting how your trust is distributed after your death. In this article, we’ll discuss several key points to consider. If you want to learn more about how a marriage or divorce impacts your Will before a significant life event like marriage or divorce, it’s best to get in touch with us at Hello Estate Planning for more advice. 

Under marriage laws in England and Wales, any pre-existing, legally valid Will become void on your marriage, unless the Will makes specific reference to the upcoming marriage. In order to avoid dying intestate (without a Will), it’s important to make arrangements to prepare a new Will after marriage and before death. If the person dies intestate, the rules of intestacy will apply when distributing the estate. This means that the spouse will inherit all of the estate if the couple had no children. If the spouse had children, the first £270,000 will be distributed to the spouse or civil partner, in addition to any personal possessions. Any amount over £270,000 is shared equally between the children and spouse.

There are other nuances to consider, for example, a cohabiting spouse is not entitled to benefit from the rules of intestacy. A marriage or civil partnership is required in these circumstances. Furthermore, if you have a pre-existing Will drafted in a foreign jurisdiction, it’s best to consult with a legal professional in that country as they would be best suited to advise on any impact of your foreign Will. 

On the other hand, in the matter of divorce, the law treats the ex-spouse as dead (from the date of divorce or civil partnership). And while your Will remains valid post-divorce, there are several issues to consider. First, many spouses appoint each other as beneficiaries and/or executors. Secondly, if the former spouse was allocated a larger share of the assets, there is no one to inherit post-divorce. This is important because divorce removes the ex-partner from the Will entirely, preventing the distribution of assets to go ahead as planned. Under such circumstances, the rules of intestacy will apply yet again. 

At Hello Estate Planning, we work with our clients anytime, anywhere to ensure their Will is kept up to date. Whether you’re jetting off on your honeymoon or planning a big wedding, we make it flexible and convenient to discuss the legal status of your Will. If you’d like to discuss your significant life event and the impact it may have on your Will, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.