It’s important to update your Will whenever there are major changes in your life, and divorce is definitely one of them. If you made your Will while you were married, you will need to amend it to reflect your new marital status, and ensure that your estate will be handled correctly. Although your Will would still remain valid, after divorce, your ex would not benefit as a beneficiary, nor could they act as an Executor or Trustee. However, these changes would not come into effect until you receive your Decree Absolute, meaning if you died during the process of divorce, your Will would be handled as if you were still married.
If you don’t update your Will after divorce, anything you have bequeathed to your ex will be automatically passed on to the next beneficiary who is entitled to it. If there are no other beneficiaries named in your Will, your estate will be treated as if you died without a Will, according to the rules of intestacy. This means that the law decides who should inherit your estate and assets following strict rules which may not be in accordance with your wishes.
Similarly, if your ex-spouse is named as sole Executor on your Will and you do not amend this after divorce, an alternative will be appointed by the court – in most cases this will be a family member or close friend. However, it’s likely your solicitor would have advised you to appoint more than one Executor, in which case these duties will be passed onto the one/s remaining.
Separating from your spouse while remaining legally married means that the terms of your Will remain unchanged and your spouse will be entitled to inherit according to your original wishes. However, if you remarry without updating your original Will, it will be revoked in its entirety and you will need to make a new one.
In all cases, the best course of action is to update your Will as soon as you begin the process of divorce – or whenever you encounter a major life change that may alter the existing decisions set out in your Will.
For more advice on making or amending a Will, get in touch with our friendly, down-to-earth family law solicitors at www.franceslindsay.co.uk, or find out more about all the reasons why it might be time to update your will by checking the infographic below:Tags: divorce, making a will, separation, wills and probate