Whether you are getting married or divorce, updating your Will to reflect your current relationship status is crucial. Often times, amongst all the other considerations, something as simple as updating your Will can be forgotten about.
However, the consequences of not updating your Will can be disastrous. Should you pass away for whatever reason and your Will is not up to date, it can lead to significant stress on your loved ones.
A change of relationship status is a key time to think about updating your Will. Below are some of the considerations you should make when updating your Will.
Marriage, Divorce, Separation and Defacto Relationships
If you are separating or entering a defacto relationship you should make sure that your Will is properly up to date. Many Australians do not know that, under Law, their Will becomes invalid when they marry.
If you were to die without updating your Will you spouse will likely be awarded most of the estate. Although this may not be a problem, if there are children from previous marriages or other people you wish to provide for, it is well worth rewriting a Will to award some the estate to them.
There is one exception to the rule that marriage invalidates previous Wills. That is when a Will expressly states that the Will was made in ‘contemplation of marriage.’ This is the only time you may not need to produce a new Will.
The circumstances are different if you are filing for separation as opposed to divorce. Under marriage separation your Will is still valid under Australian Law.
This can lead to more problems if you do not update your Will straight away. Although separated, your ex partner may inherit anything left to them in the Will. If they are listed as your Executor, they may be entitled to take that role whether that represents your wishes or not.
Divorce can be a stressful time, and often, updating your Will may be just one of dozens of legal documents you may be juggling. However, as tough as it may be to organise your Will amongst other proceedings, it is very important to get it done as soon as possible.
Unlike marriage, divorce affects your will differently depending on which state in Australia you live in. In some states, divorce will automatically make your current Will invalid, whilst in other states it may.
However, this may not occur if courts have reason to believe you intended to leave your spouse a gift.
Setting up in a shared home with a de facto partner may have an affect on your property rights. As time passes, you and your partner may have property rights attributed to each other. These rights may not be what you wanted; as a result it is best to clarify in writing.
Updating Your Will During A Change In Relationship Status
Updating your Will as soon as you can is crucial. The sooner you get onto it, the sooner you can have genuine peace of mind that your estate is secure and will be handled properly in accordance with your wishes.
Furthermore, the people you care about and may leave behind will not need to deal with the added stress of organising a poorly written Will. A secure Will s the best way to avoid an estate disputes.
More often than not a Will that has not been updated can be fractious and divide a family, especially when there are children involved.
Making a new Will does not need to be a difficult or time-consuming activity. The best course of action is contact a professional Estate Lawyer to prepare a formal document. There are cheap DIY Will kits available for around $31.50 AUD, but these kits come with their own drawbacks.
A Lawyer will assist you so that there are no discrepancies or costly mistakes in your Will. In the long term, more often than not, working with a professional will save you money.
If you would like to find out more about the impact an impending divorce or marriage might have on the status of your will, then please contact a local Estate Lawyer.
We hope this article has given you better idea about the importance of updating your Will during a change of relationship status. If you would like more information on Estate Law, do not hesitate to give Hentys Lawyers a call.