As the glitter of the Christmas celebrations starts to fade, and the realities of January start to sink in, sadly for some couples thoughts can turn to divorce.
More than 40,000 people are expected to put ‘divorce’ into their search engines this month, with the first Monday of the New Year known in legal circles as ‘Divorce Day’.
For anyone thinking about divorce, your Will is probably the last thing or your mind, but the end of a partnership can have serious implications.
And that is if you have a will in the first place. Figures in 2016 suggested that nearly 60 per cent of the adult population in the UK have not written a Will.
So, what should you bear in mind if you are going through a divorce or ending a civil partnership?
Q: Does Divorce invalidate a Will?
A: No, but it removes your ex-husband, wife or partner from the list of beneficiaries. Any provisions for children, friends or charities will stay in place.
Q: What happens if my spouse was the sole beneficiary?
A: The Will becomes invalid as there is no longer anyone to legally inherit your estate. The law will then decide who gets what and how much, rather than yourself. Recently £8 million went to the Government because people didn’t leave a Will.
Q: At what point will my ‘ex’ be removed as a beneficiary?
A: This only happens when the divorce becomes Absolute – so unless you change your Will, while you are still going through the process, or if you are only separated, the law considers you to be still legally married and your partner could still inherit after your death.
Q: What happens if my ex is also the Executor of the Will?
A: Divorce will also cancel this role, so if they are the only Executor – the person charged with sorting out your affairs after your death – it could mean there is no-one to sort out your estate.
Q: Could my partner still benefit from my parents’ Will, as we were due to jointly inherit?
A: Not once your divorce is Absolute. But before then your partner would still be entitled to an equal share of the inheritance. To avoid this your parent would need to change their Wills to remove her from the list of beneficiaries.
Q: After my divorce, I made a new will and then got re-married. Is it still valid?
A: No, as soon as you say ‘I do” that Will is automatically cancelled even though you only made it after your divorce and you will need to think about making a new one.
We at Will Makers of the West Midlands have over 25 years of experience to help us listen, talk through what you want, and then create the Will which makes sure your wishes are followed correctly in the event of your death.
Why not give us a call us on 01952 305 105 – we’re here to help.