What does my relationship status have to do with my will anyway?

Writing a Will – Relationship status considerations

A major relationship change signals adjustments to many other areas of life. These major relationship changes include entering into a de facto relationship or marriage as well as separation and divorce.

Getting married does not automatically gift your estate to your spouse on your death. If you have made a Will before marriage, unless this will was made in contemplation of marriage, it is revoked once you exchange your vows – a fact that many people are unaware of. This means that if you do not update your Will or write a new Will after marriage, you will die without a valid Will and your estate will be distributed according to the laws of the state.

Similarly, a divorce does not automatically write out your former spouse from your Will. A divorce will generally remove provisions that you have made for your former spouse in your Will, such as your appointment of your former spouse as executor, trustee or guardian in your Will as well as cancelling any gifts left to them. However, what a divorce does not do is remove your former spouse’s involvement when it comes to gifts for beneficiaries that include your former spouse’s children.  This means that if you do not update your Will, your appointment of your former spouse as trustee of property left on trust for their (yours and your former spouse’s) children will still be valid, even though you were divorced at the time of your death.

So, whether you’re getting into or out of a serious, de facto relationship or have just received a certificate for marriage or divorce, you should remember to update your Will and not just your relationship status on Facebook.

If you’ve just had a major relationship change or are just not sure whether your current will is valid or in need of updating, please visit our contact us page or give our office a call.