As your relationship status changes so too can your will

Published 01 Sep 2016

Much like your social media profiles, your will needs to be updated if your relationship status changes. While drafting, writing or amending a will may seem morbid and uncomfortable, simply put it’s something that needs to be done. Should the worst happen, it’s important you have all the precautions in place to ensure your estate is distributed in the manner you want.

Any major life event you experience that changes your status legally, eg marriage, your will needs to be updated to reflect this change. If this is not done, there is every chance your will could be revoked. Here are three occasions your will would need updating to reflect your updated status.

1. Marriage

One of the most exciting and positive times in anyone’s life, getting married impacts massively on your will. So much so that marriage can actually render your will invalid.

When a marriage is legally binding, the two parties involved automatically get rights to the respective property they have accumulated. If you get married, don’t update your will and are to pass away, quite a large amount of your estate could be allocated to your spouse. In instances such as this, family members may have to contest an estate or will.

However, if you had created your will in anticipation of getting married, then it will be unaffected. To ensure your estate is distributed as you would like, it’s imperative you update your will accordingly.

2. Divorce

In much the same way that marriage can impact on your will, so too can divorce.

In New South Wales, anything allocated to your spouse will be revoked. More often than not, it also removes any power of attorney that this person has. This prevents them from becoming a trustee or executor of your will. If there are dependants involved, however, a former spouse could potentially still be a trustee of a property. As well as this, they may also make a claim for family provisions.

3. De facto relationships

While entering into a de facto relationship doesn’t have the immediate impact on your will as marriage, this relationship will impact your will over time. Over the course of a relationship, the likely hood is that the two members of a de facto partnership will gain rights to each other’s property. Thus, they will be entitled to a portion of their partner’s estate if they were to pass.

If you require more information about a will, or feel you have grounds to claim against a will, get in touch with the expert team at Gerard Malouf and Partners today.

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