Marriage and divorce both have an effect upon your Will. Therefore you should consider updating or redrafting your Will following either of these major life changes.
Marriage and Wills
Marriage, remarriage or entering into a civil partnership legally invalidates any previously drafted Wills. You can however avoid the Will being invalidated if you address the issue prior to your remarriage. Talk to a lawyer about drafting a clause for inclusion in your Will preventing its invalidation.
If you do not, or choose not, take action to prevent your Will being invalidated, you will have to draft a new Will following your marriage. If you fail to redraft your Will following marriage, and you pass away, your estate Will be treated as though you died without a Will and will be distributed in line with the laws of intestacy. The laws of intestacy may leave your spouse and your loved ones to not be provided for in the way you would have wished. For this reason, if you did not have a Will prior to getting married, it is still vital that you draft one.
When you get married you may wish to consider drafting a Will alongside your spouse – talk to your solicitor about the options you have so you can decide on what is best for you. A Mirror Will is commonly used for spouses with similar wishes for the distribution of their estate.
Divorce and Wills
Unlike marriage, getting a divorce does not invalidate your Will. What it does do is mean your ex-spouse’s claim to the Will is no longer valid. This means your ex-spouse cannot be either a beneficiary of the Will or an executor of the Will. Although the rest of your Will remains valid, it is best to redraft your Will, especially if you need to choose a new executor for your Will. There are also likely to be other revisions that are required following a divorce. For example you may wish to change choices for guardians for your children.
Remember though that until divorce proceedings are complete, your Will does still remain valid so if you pass away before a divorce is finalised, your spouse will be able to inherit from your estate.
In sum, should you have married, remarried, entered into a civil partnership or got a divorce, you should review and update your Will to ensure that the wishes contained within it are up to date.