We’re going to talk about divorce and what effect that has on your Will. Unfortunately, half of marriages these days end in divorce. Quite often there’s a valid Will in place, which leaves everything to your spouse who is now your former spouse. So a question I’m asked really regularly is what happens to my Will if I don’t change it after the divorce? Well, the clue is in the question, really, you should change it.
You should make sure it’s updated at the point of divorce. But the law does come to your assistance. The law treats your former spouse as if they had predeceased you on the date of the decree Absolute. Please note that’s the decree absolute, not the decree nisi. Many, many couples that I’ve dealt with have split up, gone through part of the process of getting divorced, but never got to a degree absolute, then an ex-partner has died and that’s caused all sorts of problems. Meaning a former spouse inherits an estate that would otherwise have gone to a new family.
On the day of the decree Absolute, your former spouse is no longer a part of your Will. If they’re appointed as an executor, that appointment will fail. If they’re appointed as a beneficiary, their share will pass to your children if you have them, or to the other beneficiaries in the Will because the law treats it as if they died before you. Wills in divorce can be complicated, but the number one tip is that changing your Will after divorce should be a priority, it’s a simple process and it should be part of the overall package of the divorce.