Getting Divorced? Make Sure That You Review Your Will
Posted on 22nd July 2020
When you are going through a divorce, there can be so many issues to think about that reviewing your Will can quite often fall through the cracks.
Whilst a divorce does not automatically revoke any Will that you have made during your marriage, it can cause some issues with your Will, leaving your Estate in a bit of a mess. This is because your Will remains valid, but, if named, your ex-spouse will be treated as though they have predeceased you. Essentially, any Will naming your ex-spouse after divorce should be read as though they were not named in it at all. As you can imagine, this could leave you with some pretty big blank spots in your Will.
What people also do not always realise is that any Will that you made during your marriage which left your Estate, or a portion of it, to your spouse, would remain valid. Until your divorce has been finalised through pronouncement of your Decree Absolute, your spouse could receive your entire Estate. If this is not something that you would want which, we imagine, in most cases, it is not, you should contact our expert Wills, Tax and Probate Solicitors to discuss making a new Will as soon as you are aware that you are going to be getting divorced.
The other important point to consider is that, if you intend to get re-married or enter into a new civil partnership, this would also revoke any previous Wills that you have made. You should consider making a new Will at this stage, too. Read more about what happens to your Will when you re-marry in our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors’ article, here.
Important Points to Consider when reviewing your Will after divorce
When you are reviewing your Will during or after divorce, here are some important things that you may wish to consider:-
1. If your estranged or ex-spouse is appointed as the Executor, you would need to consider who you would want to appoint in their place. You may decide, ultimately, that you would still want your spouse to act (if you have divorced amicably), however, once your divorce has been finalised, you would still need to make a new Will appointing them as the Executor. Otherwise, your current Will is read as though they have predeceased you.
2. If your current Will leaves everything to your soon-to-be former spouse or civil partner and you die without making a new Will, they could receive everything from your Estate. This would include your property, money in the bank, personal items and anything else that you own. If your divorce has been finalised but your Will still leaves everything to your spouse, your Estate could be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy. This means that it will be treated as though you have died without making a valid Will. You can read more about the Rules of Intestacy from our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors, here.
3. You should discuss your Inheritance Tax liability with an expert Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors. Married couples can usually benefit from something called a nil-rate band. This means that they can transfer up to £325,000 to their spouse, tax-free. Therefore, if your Estate is close or over this threshold, it may be advisable to consider your tax planning now that you no longer have a transferable nil-rate band.
4. If you and your spouse have children together who are still minors, it could be useful to includes provisions in your Will for who should care for your children in the unfortunate event that both you and your ex-spouse are unable to. This person would be known as the Guardian. You can read more about Guardians, here.
Can I name my ex-spouse in my Will?
If you want your ex-spouse to act as your Executor, or you want to leave them a share of your Estate, this is still possible. Our team can include specific wording which states that the gift/appointment as Executor is to remain valid, even though you have divorced or even in the event that you get divorced in the future.
Get Legal Advice
Whether you are only in the early stages of your divorce or you have been divorced for years and have not given making a new Will a second though, our expert team of Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate solicitors are here to help. You can contact us at your local office, complete our online enquiry form or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an initial consultation to discuss your requirements.
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