Does Getting Married Affect Your Will?
The simple answer is yes it does.
If a Will was made before marriage, it’s invalid from the date you get married. Once you're married or in a civil partnership, if you don’t make another Will and you die, you’ll die without a Will and the Rules of Intestacy will decide who inherits. This means that you’ll have no say over who benefits from your Estate.
It’s important to remember that even though you have a Will in place, your marriage invalidates it, so you should update your Will as soon as you get married. You can even write a new Will before your wedding so that you’re protected.
For initial legal advice on making a Will contact our specialist Wills and Trusts Solicitors.
Why is My Will Invalid after Marriage?
In England and Wales, marriage is a legally binding contract, so any Will you made before you got married is invalidated by your marriage.
What is Intestacy?
Dying intestate is the legal definition of dying without a Will. The Rules of Intestacy were made to decide who inherits from someone’s Estate if they didn’t make a Will.
The Rules of Intestacy are quite outdated. They say that only blood relatives or husbands, wives and civil partners can inherit. Today, many people choose not to marry and if they die without a Will, their partner could be left with nothing, which would be devastating.
That’s why it’s so important to make a Will.
In addition, the Intestacy Rules only recognises biological children. Inheritance around step children, foster children and adopted children will need to be carefully considered in an Intestacy, but a Will can provide clear instructions to avoid any uncertainty. Because there are so many blended families now, this is another very important reason to make a Will.
What Should I Do About My Will?
It’s simple - you can either make sure that the Will you make before marriage is made in ‘contemplation of marriage’ or you can make a new Will after you’re married.
So, if you’re engaged and you want to make a Will, you should include details of your husband, wife or civil partner to be. This way, your Will stays valid once you’re married. This is only an option if you are already planning to marry. If you think that you might get married in the future, this isn’t an option for you.
If you’re already married and didn’t add a ‘contemplation of marriage’ to your Will, you’ll need to write a new Will. Making a new Will gives you the chance to make sure that it accurately reflects your life and your priorities as they are now you’re married or in civil partnership.
A good rule to follow is to review your Will after every major life event. These can include marriage, buying a house, getting divorced or having a child. By doing this, you’re in control and have the peace of mind that you know exactly who will inherit from your Estate when you die and that your family are protected.
How Can Simpson Millar Help You?
Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors offer free initial legal advice and can answer any questions you have about your Will. Our friendly team are here to help you write a Will to protect you and your family, so get in touch with our experienced team.
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