The easing of lockdown continues and, from 1 August 2020 in England and Wales, wedding receptions of up to 30 people will be allowed. You may, therefore, be thinking that now is the time to go ahead with those delayed nuptials (well, if it is good enough for Princess Beatrice…) but have you thought about the effect of marriage (and divorce, for that matter) on your Will?
I am about to get married and I have already made a Will so I am okay, right?
Not necessarily. The general rule is that a testator’s marriage automatically revokes any Will they might have made before that marriage. If the testator does not make a new Will after the marriage, they risk their estate passing in accordance with the intestacy rules upon their death, which may not accurately reflect their wishes.
So I should wait until I am married before I make a new Will?
Not necessarily. A testator’s marriage will not revoke a Will if it appears from the Will that it was made in expectation of that marriage. Such an appearance is often demonstrated by a declaration at the beginning of the Will which names the intended spouse; an expectation of marriage to an unidentified person at some time in the future will not be sufficient.
But what if they are not the one?
As well as thinking about how your marriage might affect your Will, you might also want to consider whether to have a pre-nuptial agreement or, if you are already married, a post-nuptial agreement. We can advise on both types of agreement should you wish to discuss either.
If everything does go wrong then divorce does not revoke a Will. Instead, any provisions appointing a former spouse as executor/trustee or leaving property to them take effect as though the former spouse had died on the date the marriage was dissolved. Notwithstanding this, we believe it is good practice to review your Will following divorce to ensure that it still accurately reflects your wishes.
If you would like help making a Will before or after marriage, please do not hesitate to contact your usual Wansbroughs Private Client contact or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.