Tuesday 14th May 2019
The effects of divorce and separation on your Will
Making amendments to your Will might not be at the top of your priority if you are going through, or have recently been through a divorce or separation. However, it is important that you are aware of the effects this can have on your Will so that you do not fall victim to the implications it can have.
How a divorce impacts your Will
Regardless of your previous wishes, a Will that you made prior to your divorce remains legally valid which can cause complications when it comes to distributing your estate.
Many married couples appoint each other as executors and beneficiaries in each of their Wills. However, once the divorce is finalised, your former spouse will be completely excluded from your Will whilst other beneficiaries and executors remain.
This means that the part of the estate, perhaps all of the estate that you had meant to leave to your former spouse will now have no one to inherit it in your Will. As a result, the governments intestacy rules shall decide who will inherit from your estate, meaning you have no control over who receives it.
Before you have been issued your decree absolute, your former spouse is still entitled to any gift made to them in your Will.
For these reasons, we advise that you ensure you create a new Will as soon as possible after your divorce, especially if your former spouse was appointed as an executor, trustee or beneficiary.
How a separation impacts your Will
Upon separation, it is important to remember that you and your spouse are still legally married and therefore no changes have happened regarding your Will.
Due to this, your spouse will still inherit under your Will regardless of the time that you have spent apart. Legally they have all right to still act as executor, trustee or beneficiary as you appointed in your Will whilst married.
If this situation applies to you, we recommend that you let us draft you a new Will that best mirrors your current wishes.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your circumstances with us, call 0330 010 8370 or complete the online contact form below.