Marriage and Wills – What you need to know

At Prestige Legal Services, we understand the complexities surrounding Marriage and Wills. Life events such as marriage can significantly impact Wills. It’s crucial to be aware of these changes to ensure your wishes are honoured. In this article, we explore the effects of Marriage and Wills, the concept of revocation, and the importance of estate planning, especially after remarriage.


Marriage and Its Effect on a Will


In England and Wales, it’s a little-known fact that getting married revokes a Will. This means that when you say “I do,” your existing Will becomes void unless it was made in contemplation of that specific marriage. Revocation essentially renders the Will null and void, as if it never existed. This is a critical point to understand, as it could lead to unintended consequences if not addressed, especially if you’d like certain elements of your Will to remain in force.


Exceptions to the Rule


There are circumstances where a Will isn’t automatically voided by marriage. This is particularly the case when a Will is made in ‘contemplation of marriage’. This means that when drafting the Will, there is a clear intention stated that it should remain valid after the marriage to a specific person. It’s a safeguard that ensures your wishes are respected even after a significant life change. This needs to be carefully drafted, something that Prestige Legal Services can support with.


The Rules of Intestacy


If a Will is revoked by marriage and no new Will is made, the rules of intestacy apply. These rules determine how your estate is distributed in the absence of a valid Will. In the context of marriage, this often means that your spouse could receive a significant portion, if not all, of your estate, which might not align with your original intentions. At the time of drafting this article these are the rules that apply:


Maintaining a Valid Will Post-Marriage


To ensure your Will remains valid after marriage, it’s advisable to either make a new Will immediately after getting married or create one in contemplation of your marriage. This proactive approach guarantees that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Again, this is something we can support with.


The Impact of Divorce


Divorce also has implications for your Will. As we discussed in our previous article on Divorce and Wills, it’s essential to review and possibly update your Will after a divorce to reflect your current circumstances and intentions.


Estate Planning and Remarriage

Estate planning becomes even more critical in the context of remarriage. Blended families can create complex situations, and without a proper Will, your estate may not be distributed as you wish. It’s essential to consider the needs of your new spouse, any children from previous relationships, and any other dependents.


Speak to Our Team

At Prestige Legal Services, we are committed to helping you navigate these complexities. If you have any questions about how marriage, divorce, or remarriage might affect your Will, or if you need assistance with estate planning, please don’t hesitate to speak to our team. We are here to provide you with tailored advice and ensure that your estate planning meets your specific needs and circumstances.