Do you know the effect that a change in your marital status can have on your will? If your answer is no, don’t worry, you certainly aren’t alone.

Marriage, divorce, and separation each have their own unique impact on the estate planning process, and they also have their own unique effect when you enter the contested estates arena. Plus, with the increase in blended families over the past couple of decades, we are really seeing the impact that a complex family structure can have when it comes to estate planning and contested wills and estates.

So let’s start with marriage. Generally speaking, any will you made prior to your marriage is revoked when you are married. Now, there are some exceptions to this, such as if you made a will that clearly contemplates any likely future marriage on your part.

Now, for the next part, it’s super important to differentiate between separation and divorce. So, separation means you’re broken up, but you’re not legally divorced. Whereas divorced means legally, you are no longer married.

So if you separate from your spouse and you made a will after you are married, your will remains in place unless and until you make a new one. The impact that divorce has on your will is slightly less straightforward. So, an official divorce revokes any benefit to your former spouse and also removes them as your executor if you had placed them as such.

However, the will itself is not actually revoked by the divorce. As such, it is always best practice to update your will after any change to your marital status. Married, separated, divorced. Doing this will make sure that your current situation and wishes are reflected within your will and will also hopefully alleviate any potential doubt or concerns that you may have.

So if you have any questions about the wills process, if you need to know your will or you want to update an existing will, get in touch with us today, here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.

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