What happens to my Will if I get married or divorced?
At significant moments in your life, for example the birth or death of a family member, it’s always a
good idea to review your Will to make sure it still reflects your wishes. At these same moments, if
you don’t have a Will, it’s a good idea to put one in place to make sure your wishes are carried out
and your family is protected.
Another significant moment in your life will, of course, be a marriage or divorce – at these times, it’s
vital that you review your Will or put one in place if you don’t have one. We’ve discussed below the
effect on your Will of a marriage or a divorce – if you’re facing one of these situations and would like
Do I need a new Will if I get married?
In a word, yes. A marriage will invalidate your Will and unless a new Will is put in place following
your marriage, essentially you don’t have a Will.
There is one exception to this and that is if your Will has been written “in contemplation of marriage”
and the person you are marrying is named in the Will. Your Solicitor will advise you about this if you
are going to be married shortly after making your Will, but it is always a good idea to put in place a
new Will as soon as possible after your marriage to avoid any risk of your old Will being made invalid.
Do I need a new Will if I get divorced?
In short, probably. A divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership will mean that, in terms of your Will,
your former spouse or civil partner will be deemed to have died on the date that marriage or civil
partnership was legally ended.
This means that if your former spouse or civil partner is named as an Executor or a Trustee in your
Will or receives a gift or share of the Estate, all of which are quite likely, then these parts of the Will
would not happen on your death. This may cause problems for the distribution of your Estate, for
example if your former spouse or civil partner was the only person to receive a gift or a share of the
Estate then this would not happen and your Estate would then be distributed according to the rules
of Intestacy which may not be what you want to happen.
Another point you need to consider is that, before the marriage or civil partnership is legally ended,
your Will is valid. This means that if you pass away before the end of your marriage or civil
partnership, your spouse or civil partner will still be an Executor or Trustee and/or receive the gift or
share of your Estate. This may not be what you want to happen so it would be a good idea to
consider updating your Will if you are in the process of ending your marriage or civil partnership.
I want to change my Will or put a Will in place – what should I do now?
If you’ve just been married or divorced or you’re about to get married or divorced (or if you just need