Q&A - What happens to my Will if I get married?

Q.        I already have a Will, but I am wondering what will happen regarding it if I get married. Will I need to make a new Will, and if I do make a new Will including my soon to be wife, what would happen if we divorced but I left her in my will?

A:        Unless you have made a Will in contemplation of marriage, then any current Will that was in place at the time of your marriage would be automatically revoked. If you passed away without a Will in place at all, your estate would pass by the intestacy rules which may not be how you intended to leave your assets. This would be important if you have children from a previous relationship who may not benefit under intestacy rules.

When you are making your Will, if you are planning to get married, then you can include a clause regarding your expected marriage. This specific clause would state that your Will is not to be revoked when you get married, so that when you do get married your Will will remain valid. This also applies for Civil Partnerships.

If you had a valid will in place that included your Wife as a beneficiary and you subsequently divorced, then when your divorce is finalised, your ex-wife would be treated as having pre-deceased you. This generally means that any gift to a former spouse would fail and potentially pass to secondary beneficiaries or even on intestacy if the Will is not carefully planned. Although you may wish to exclude her, some people wish to include ex-spouses particularly where children are involved. 

You should speak to a Solicitor to ensure your Will is valid and meets your needs.

This question has been answered by Frances Cartwright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

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