Wills, marriage and divorce
By Ron Cohen
3 November 2015
Did you know that when you marry, remarry or when you divorce, these events will affect your Will?
Pursuant to Section 13 of the Wills Act, 1997, a Will is revoked by the marriage of the Testator. Therefore, if you remarry, it is necessary to make a new Will to ensure you provide for your new spouse and loved ones generally.
Pursuant to s14 of the Wills Act 1997, a divorce only revokes a disposition to the divorced spouse of the Testator. The remainder of the Will is not revoked. Therefore, it is important, upon a divorce, to re-visit your Will to make any other consequential changes to the existing Will by way of a Codicil, or preferably for the sake of clarity, to make a totally new Will.
As is so often the case in these times, there are children of a previous marriage and it is normal that one party wishes to ensure that only their children are the beneficiaries of their Estate, without the risk of a claim being made by the children of the new spouse. Alternatively, you may wish to make a Will that encompasses any new domestic arrangement.
It is also advisable to put into place an Enduring Power of Attorney, which can be either for Financial or Personal matters or both. A Medical Power of Attorney should also be considered. This is an instrument whereby a person you trust is appointed to stand in your shoes and sign documents or make decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to, for example, if you are absent overseas or extremely ill.
Our Wills and Estate team is equipped to advise and assist in what can often be a difficult and complex situation.