Hello, I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers, with Battle of Wills, where I discuss general Wills matters contested estates.
We’ve discussed the effect of marriage on a will in New South Wales – in that it revokes any will in existence, unless that will was made in contemplation of the marriage.
So, what about the polar end of marriage – divorce?
In New South Wales, divorce does not revoke the Will – but wait …
Indeed, the act of divorce cherry picks away and revokes any gifts or appointments to your former spouse.
So, what does this mean practically?
It means the Will in existence at the time of divorce remains valid, but it:
Revokes any gift to your former spouse; and
Revokes any appointment of your former spouse as executor or trustee or guardian, unless you express a contrary intention in your Will.
Again, like marriage, intestacy, or divorce, these provisions are automatic unless a new Will is made.
So, after divorce, yes, any gifts and appointments to your former spouse are revoked. However, rather than rely on these automatic partial revocations, it is far more preferable to make a new Will to eliminate any doubt.
So, after marriage or divorce – what do you do?
You make a new Will.
Now – it’s important to note that this automatic selective revocation which is triggered only upon divorce has nothing to do with separation.
As you may be aware – or not – in New South Wales you must be separated from your spouse for 12 months before your divorce can be finalised.
So if you’re separated, and don’t wish for your spouse to benefit from your estate, at least before your divorce is finalised – you know what to do.
You also need to note that a former spouse will always be an eligible person to make a family provision claim on any Will you may have at your death, though there are activities that can be done to minimise or indeed virtually eliminate the possibility of any successful claim, though we don’t have the time in this video to discuss that – I’ll leave that for another time.
So – if separated, or divorced, make a new Will rather than relying on the partial revocation provisions.