If you are in the process of getting divorced, or your divorce has already been finalised, it is a critical time to consider your Will arrangements. If you do not have an existing Will you should make one and if you made a Will during your marriage, then it is advisable that you make changes to it, following the change in your circumstances.
Depending on the exact circumstances, if you do not have a Will the Intestacy Rules will mean that your spouse receives all, or a significant proportion of your Estate if you died during divorce. The proportion of your Estate that your spouse would receive would be dependent upon the size of your Estate at the date of your death. Similarly, most couples that make Wills when they are married make their spouse the primary beneficiary under their Will leaving them all or the majority of their Estate.
The process of getting a divorce can often take time to be completed. During this period, under normal circumstances, your spouse is likely to be the main beneficiary of your assets either via a Will or the Intestacy Rules. This means that if you died, your assets would likely pass to the someone who you may not want them to. Also, any assets you hold jointly with your spouse, such as the family home, may also pass automatically to your spouse upon your death unless you take steps to avoid this eventuality. You may therefore wish to make changes to your Will and the way in which your home is owned, in order to avoid your assets passing to your spouse. For example, you may wish your assets to go directly to your children, another family member or to a new partner.
Unlike a marriage, divorce does not automatically revoke your whole Will. Instead, if you divorce your Will takes effect as if your former spouse had died on the date that the decree absolute was issued. If you have divorced you may wish to review and make changes to your Will to accurately reflect your change in circumstances.
It is critical to seek expert advice as soon as you decide to get divorced. At Enoch Evans LLP we can bring all this planning together seamlessly. Our Family team are experts in dealing with divorce and working alongside the Wills, Tax and Probate team, we can bring all the advice together to ensure the best solution.