How Does Marriage Affect My Will?
Posted on 20th April 2020
Unfortunately for some people, this means that their wishes won’t be carried out after they die, and their Estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy (which you can read about in our Wills Solicitors in Lancaster’s blog, here). A person who dies without a Will, or without a valid Will (such as one that has been revoked by marriage), dies “intestate”, meaning that they have no say over how their Estate passes. A person’s Estate comprises of any property that they own, their personal possessions, and any money, investments or savings that they have.
The only time when a Will may not be revoked by your marriage is if your assets are abroad and you have a foreign Will dealing with them; if you need advice in relation to a foreign Will, you should contact Solicitors for Wills in the relevant country.
Why Does Marriage Invalidate My Will? (Why Does My Will Become Void When I Get Married?)
Wills made before 1st January 1983 will be revoked by marriage under section 18 of the Wills Act 1837 (‘Every Will made by a man or woman shall be revoked by his or her marriage…’). Wills made on or after this date are revoked by the substituted Act: the Administration of Justice Act 1982 (‘a Will shall be revoked by the testator’s marriage’). This would mean that, if you die without making a new Will (or without making a Will in contemplation of marriage), your Estate would pass under the Rules of Intestacy (the relevant inheritance laws, which you can read about in our Solicitors for Wills’ blog, here).
If you don’t fancy reading about the full Rules of Intestacy, here’s a brief outline:
If your Estate is worth up to £270,000.00 (the current figure as of 20th April 2020) and you are married, the whole Estate would pass to your spouse. If your Estate is worth more than this amount, the first £270,000.00 would pass to your spouse, the remainder of your Estate would be divided between your spouse and children. Your spouse would receive half of the remainder, and your children (or if they have predeceased you, their children) would receive the other half, equally.
For the purpose of the Rules of Intestacy, only biological or adopted children would be included. If you want to ensure that your step children or foster children inherit from your Estate, you MUST ensure that you have a valid Will in place which names them as Beneficiaries.
How Can I Make Sure I Have A Valid Will After Marriage?
If you know that you are intending to get married, you don’t have to wait until after your marriage has taken place to get your Will finalised. Your Solicitors for Wills can ensure that provisions are included to make your Will valid after your marriage has taken place. This is known as making a Will ‘in contemplation of marriage’. Your Solicitors for Wills need to know the specific details of your intended marriage, including the name of the person you intend to marry and when you expect your marriage to take place.
This option can be good for a couple who are engaged to be married, but want to ensure that they have valid Wills in place.
Unfortunately, if you are not yet with the person who you end up marrying (or not marrying, if you both prefer not to get married), you can’t include a general clause in your Will to cover any future marriage. A general speculation of marriage without specific details won’t prevent your Will from becoming void if you get married in the future.
You can still ensure you have a valid Will in place, but if you get engaged, or after you’ve got married, you can make a new Will (although leaving it until you’ve got married could leave you without a valid Will from the date of marriage to the date your new Will becomes valid).
How Does Divorce Affect My Will?
Whilst getting divorced will not invalidate your Will completely, your ex-spouse will no longer be able to act as your Executor/Trustee or be a Beneficiary. For the purpose of your Will, your ex-spouse will be treated as if they predeceased you. Once you have got divorced, you should review and update your Will to ensure that it’s a true reflection of your wishes.
Is My Will Affected If I’m Re-Marrying?
No matter if your marriage is your first, second or third, the effect that your re-marriage will have on your Will is exactly the same as the first time you get married: that is, your Will becomes void as soon as your marriage takes place.
If you are getting re-married, and you have children from a previous relationship or marriage, you should ensure that you have a valid Will in place. Under the Rules of Intestacy, your Estate could pass in its entirety to your new spouse, leaving your children without any inheritance. If you wouldn’t want this to happen, you need to ensure that you have a valid Will in place.
How Can I Get A Valid Will In Place?
Our team are working their usual hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 5:30pm in Garstang, Lancaster or Longridge. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or using our online Wills contact form, here.
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