A Will is something everybody should hold, so in the event of your death your wishes are understood. A Will is particularly important following the difficult and emotional time of separation and divorce. There are lots of things to think about and arrange however, it is advisable to review your existing Will or create a new Will as your wishes may have changed.
1. The Effect of Separation
A separation has no effect on a Will. This means that if you do have a Will, your spouse could still inherit under your Will if you provided for them in that Will, no matter how long you have been apart.
– If you have children, you may wish to change your Will to provide for them rather than for your spouse.
-If you do not have a Will, then your spouse would still inherit from you under the intestacy rules. These rules would depend on your own family circumstances and the amount that your spouse would receive would be dependent on the value of your estate and it is also affected if you have children.
-If you have started another relationship after separating from your spouse, you may wish to consider making provision in a new Will for your new partner and any children. Without this, your legal spouse could still inherit under your existing Will.
2.The Effect of Divorce
Once the Decree Absolute has been granted, any reference to your former spouse in an existing Will is omitted from the Will. They will not receive any gift under the Will and they can no longer act as Executor if they were appointed. The rest of the Will remains valid. It is therefore important that you review your Will once the divorce has been issued to ensure that there are suitable Executors and Beneficiaries referred to in your Will, once reference to your former spouse has been removed.
It is essential for all parents to ensure that there is someone to take care of their children if both parents die. Usually the appointment of a guardian will not take effect where there is a surviving parent, however, should something happen to both parents, it is important that a guardian is appointed by Will.
Your Will would also be able to provide for any step-children and unmarried partner’s children if you wanted to provide for them.
If you would like to review an existing Will or discuss the preparation of a Will, then please contact Teresa Williamson or Laura Neerunjun for further information. For advice about relationship breakdown, divorce and separation please contact Teresa Williamson.