The Importance Of Making A Will Before Getting Married

Issue 27

Wedding season has been in full flow and while many people have been busy celebrating their nuptials they may not realise the effect that it will have on their existing Will

In fact, getting married revokes any former Wills you have made unless they were drafted in consideration of marriage. Making a Will can be a difficult task and many people do not change their Wills after marriage, which can cause many complications in the future. Libby Kennedy, paralegal in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP (GBLF), discusses the importance of having a valid Will in place and the effect that getting married might have on it. ‘If we don’t get married and we haven’t made a Will, will everything still pass to my partner?’ No, if you are not married and you do not make a Will your partner is not automatically entitled to your full estate.

The easiest way to protect your partner is to have a Will drafted to ensure your estate passes in accordance with your wishes and to ensure your partner has a say in important decisions such as funeral arrangements.’There’s no point in making a Will before I get married as I will have to pay to change it again’ You can make a Will in contemplation of marriage which means it will not be revoked by the intended marriage. You can state in the Clause that if you do marry the Will is not to be revoked. If you do not make a Will in contemplation of marriage, then it will automatically be revoked by the marriage.

You cannot just expect to be married in the future or to marry in general, it must be that you expect to marry a certain person and we often refer to the date or year of marriage intended. It is much safer to make a Will before marriage than avoid making a Will altogether or after you are married. ‘I don’t need to make a Will now I’m married as everything will pass to my spouse anyway’. If you die Intestate (without making a Will) everything will pass to the surviving spouse to a certain level of inheritance. But depending on if you have children, it is not guaranteed to be all. What if you should both die? If you do not make a Will your estate will not necessarily pass to the people you wish for it to. This is especially important if you have estranged family members that you would not necessarily wish to benefit from your estate. ‘Do I need to make a new Will once I get married or will my old Will still be in effect?’ A Will is automatically revoked by marriage unless you have made it in contemplation of marriage. If you have not made a Will in contemplation of marriage you will have to make a new Will to ensure your estate passes in accordance with your wishes.

If you do not make a new Will, your estate will be dealt with in accordance with the Intestacy rules.

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