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Did you know that marriage automatically revokes a Will?

By Katie Hancock, Associate Solicitor

Did you know that marriage automatically revokes a Will? In fact, unless a Will has been made in contemplation of marriage, it will automatically be revoked on the subsequent marriage of the testator.

If you get married after making your Will, the Will becomes invalid. If you do not make a new one then, upon your death, your estate will be administered according to the statutory rules of intestacy.

The rules of intestacy determine who inherits your estate in the absence of a valid Will. If you have children, then as at today’s date your spouse will only receive the first £270,000 plus half of the remainder of your estate. The other half will be divided equally between your children. This is probably not what you would have intended and could lead to a less than desirable outcome for your loved ones. (Especially where the family dynamic is complicated).

It is very important to review the provisions of your Will whenever your personal and financial circumstances change, to make sure that it remains valid and accords with your wishes.

If you want to make a new Will now but don’t want it to be revoked by your subsequent marriage, then it is possible to make it ‘in contemplation of marriage’. However, this is not a catch-all provision. You cannot simply say that you intend to get married one day. The marriage must be imminent and you must specifically name the person you intend to marry.

There is no set timescale for the wedding to take place after the Will has been executed but it must be within a reasonable period. So, if you currently have a partner but there are no immediate plans to marry, it would not be appropriate to make Wills in contemplation of marriage. You should certainly still make Wills, especially if you own property together or have children together. However, you should keep in mind that they would need to be re-written if you did subsequently get married.

We are here to help. If you would like more information about any aspect of will writing, please contact our Private Client team on tel: 01892 515022

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

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June 10, 2021
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