“It has long been a foundational principle of our common law and the legislation that has governed the law of testamentary succession that a will, properly executed, is the document that authoritatively reflects the genuine and voluntary dispositions of a testatrix.” (Extract from judgment below)
Most people when making wills and estate plans will lean toward leaving all or most of their estate to a spouse in one form or another.
But if things fall apart and divorce looms it is easy in all the stress and hurly burly of the break-up to forget all about your will. Now it may be that you are quite happy to leave things as they are, but it’s far more likely you will want to make changes – big changes.
Either way, it is important to have on your break-up To Do list a big note “Review and change my will”. If you don’t, our law makes your decisions for you – better than nothing perhaps but far from ideal.
In terms of our Wills Act, your ex-spouse is excluded from inheriting under your pre-divorce will for a period of 3 months, unless (a very unlikely scenario) your will makes it clear that you wanted your ex-spouse still to benefit despite the divorce.
After 3 months, if you haven’t made a new will your ex-spouse can inherit again because you are assumed to have wanted him/her to remain an heir. In practical terms, you have 3 months to get your act together and make a new will reflecting your new wishes.
But rather than do nothing for 3 months, leave nothing to chance and make your new will as soon as you can. If you do nothing, your preferred heirs (your children perhaps, or other loved ones) are at risk –
Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.