The concept of the division of property.

It’s a standout scene in one of the nation’s favourite Christmas movies Love Actually.

Alan Rickman’s character Harry goes into the department store to buy a necklace for his sexy secretary Mia rather than his wife Karen (played by Emma Thompson). He nearly gets caught out as Rowan Atkinson’s shop assistant Rufus elaborately gift wraps the necklace for him before he is joined by his wife.

His reprieve is short-lived. Karen finds the necklace in the pocket of his jacket and thinks it’s for her, but when she unwraps a gift from under the tree she discovers her present is a Joni Mitchell CD and the truth dawns.

Christmas can be a magical time, but it also puts a great strain on relationships with this sort of scene played out in families across the country.

It is why the first Monday in January is dubbed Divorce Day by solicitors because of the spike in couples considering ending their marriages after the festive period.

Last January, Relate received a 24 per cent increase in calls to their helpline compared with the average month, and counsellors expect to see a similar peak this year.

For anyone thinking about divorce, your Will is probably the last thing on your mind, but the end of a partnership can have serious implications for it.

  • A divorce does not revoke a Will, but it does remove your ex-husband, wife or partner from the list of beneficiaries.
  • If your spouse is the sole beneficiary in your Will, there is no longer anyone to inherit your estate and the law will decided who gets what.
  • If you still want your ex-partner to benefit from your Will, you can do so, but your Will needs to be rewritten to expressly state this.
  • If you have Mutual Wills with an ex-partner, these will need to be reviewed. This type of Will is made by two or more people and contains an express agreement to revoke or change the terms of the Will without the consent of the other person.
  • Your ‘ex’ is only removed as a beneficiary when your divorce becomes Absolute. During the process you are considered to be still legally married so your partner could still inherit in the event of your death.
  • You also need to consider if your ‘ex’ is the Executor of the Will. Divorce also cancels this role to sort out your affairs after your death, so if they are the sole Executor there will be no-one to sort out your estate.
  • What about the children? Your children can always inherit from you, but what about stepchildren or an unmarried partner’s children. They can only inherit from you if you adopt them, or if you specifically mention them in your Will.
  • If you re-marry after a divorce, remember that any Will you might have made becomes invalid and you need to make a new one.
  • Do you need to consider appointing a Guardian in the event of your death to take care of your children? Usually Guardianships don’t take effect where there is a surviving parent, but there could be other issues to take into account.
  • If you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) naming your ‘ex’, this will also be revoked by a divorce. If they are your sole attorney, then the LPA will no longer be valid, and there could be other issues which need to be resolved.

Will Makers of the Midlands has over 25 years of experience to help listen, talk through what you want, and then create the Will which makes sure your wishes are followed correctly.

Why not give us a call us on 01952 305 105 or 07786 548025 – we’re here to help and protect you at this stressful time.