When you marry, your Will automatically becomes invalid, unless it has specifically been made in contemplation of your marriage. On divorce, the situation is different, with the gift to your former spouse failing. We take a look at what this might mean for your estate and other beneficiaries.
As part of your divorce proceedings, you will generally need to consider your financial situation and provision, both now and in the future. As part of this, it is recommended that you put a new Will in place to ensure that your loved ones are provided for in the way that you would wish.
Once a divorce is finalised, then any gift left to your ex-spouse in your Will does not take effect. This means that the residue of your estate could be considerably larger than you intended it to be, or, if they were the recipient of all of your estate, that it could be left without any beneficiary.
Making provision for a dependent former spouse
If your former spouse is receiving maintenance or periodical payments from you, then you may need to consider making a new Will that leaves them something. This is because they could be classed as being dependent on you and as such, they may be able to bring a claim against your estate if they are not provided for.
This would mean that your executors would need to defend the legal claim, which could result in the estate facing an avoidable legal bill.
Appointing an executor, guardian or trustee
If your Will appointed your former spouse to a particular role, such as executor, guardian or trustee, this appointment would also fail following divorce.
There is therefore a risk that your estate could be left without a named executor or that your former spouse, as parent to your children, could take control of your estate on their behalf. Even if you want this to happen, it should be formalised in a new, valid Will.
You should also be aware that before the divorce is finalised, your spouse will still be entitled to receive anything you have left them in your Will. This could be your entire estate, so if you do not want them to have this, you should arrange for a new Will to be drawn up.
Putting a new Will in place when you are going through a separation or divorce means that there will be clarity for your loved ones in the event that something happens to you. As well as ensuring that they are adequately provided for and that your estate will go to those whom you want to benefit from it, this can also reduce the risk of a disagreement arising after your death.
If your Will needs reviewing and updating, we will be happy to help you assess what needs to be changed and draw up a new Will that ensures your loved ones will be taken care of in the future.