During a marriage breakdown making a Will or reviewing the provisions of your current Will may not be your priority, however, it is important to consider how the change in your relationship status will affect what happens to your assets on death.
If you have separated from your spouse, your existing Will will remain valid until any divorce proceedings are finalised. This means that any reference to your spouse in your Wills will be effective so they will still inherit in the event that they are named as a beneficiary.
In addition, if you do not currently have a Will your spouse will still inherit all or part of your estate in accordance with the statutory rules of intestacy whilst you remain married. Once your divorce is finalised your former spouse will no longer benefit, however your estate will still pass under the intestacy rules rather than to beneficiaries you have chosen. As a result, if you have a new partner or family they may not be provided for.
It is therefore essential that you review your existing Will, or consider creating a new Will to ensure that on death your estate passes to those you wish to benefit.
If you are divorced it is equally important that you consider creating or reviewing your Will. Although financial proceedings may have been settled between you and your spouse or civil partner, matters relating to your estate may still be complex and so you should consider taking advice in relation to your potential tax liability and estate planning options.
If you created a Will before your divorce, this will remain valid however, any reference to your spouse will fail whilst the appointment of any other executors and beneficiaries remain valid. You should therefore review your Will as your spouse or civil partner may have been appointed as an executor and/or a beneficiary. If no substitute provisions are made, in absence of your former spouse, there may be no one to inherit your property. This could result in your estate being administered under the rules of intestacy rather than at your direction. Updating your Will ensures that your change in circumstance is accounted for.
For more information please get in touch with our Wills and Probate team here at Glazer Delmar on 020 8299 0021.