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What happens to my Will if I get married or divorced?

Depending upon the size of your estate and family makeup, don’t assume that your entire estate would go to your spouse or civil partner.

Does getting married invalidate my Will?

When you marry, any existing Will is automatically revoked (cancelled) and becomes no longer valid. If you don’t make a new one, then when you die the law of intestacy decides how your assets will be divided.
Any marriage will automatically revoke your Will unless you’re making the Will in anticipation of marriage.

Will made in contemplation of wedding

A Will can be made in contemplation of marriage. As long as the Will on the face of it states that it is made in contemplation of marriage and the marriage is to a named person, then if you subsequently marry that person the Will won’t be invalidated by the marriage.

Will getting divorced invalidate my Will?

If you are considering separating or divorcing your spouse, you should consider making a new Will otherwise, should you die before the divorce is finalised, your estate will pass under your existing Will and/or the Rules of Intestacy even if you are separated.
Until your decree absolute has been pronounced, you are still legally married despite the fact you may be in the process of divorcing your spouse.
If you make a new Will you can clearly state who you would like your assets to pass to upon death.
We appreciate that while you are divorcing you may still wish your spouse to benefit should you die, but by making a Will you give yourself greater control over what will happen should you die.

After divorce

The granting of the decree absolute has an effect on any Will that exists at that time. Unless you expressly stated in your Will, that the following is not to happen, then when your decree absolute is made, any appointment in your Will of your former spouse as executor or trustee is ignored and any gifts made to him or her automatically lapse.
What this means is, if, for example, you had made a gift to your spouse of £10,000 in your Will, once you are divorced this gift will be ignored.


Should you subsequently get re-married following your divorce, any existing Wills are revoked and so will not be considered when you pass away.
This can be avoided if you knew you were going to re-marry when you made your Will and expressly stated that your re-marriage was to have no effect on it.

For further advice please contact Laurence Holmes - expert lawyer and solicitor, providing legal services to clients across Bristol and the North Somerset area.

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