​​​​​​​How does marriage, separation or divorce impact on your Will

It is important for people to be aware that when they marry their Will becomes invalid. There are some exceptions and some parts of your Will are not revoked when you get married, for example if you have appointed your spouse as an executor, trustee or guardian that appointment would remain in place. Similarly, any gifts left to a spouse are not revoked if you die before updating your Will.

If you have married since your Will was drafted then you should review your Will and consider whether you need to update it. 

If you are planning to get married then you should speak to your solicitor about whether it is appropriate to include a clause which specifies that the Will is made “in contemplation of marriage”. If a clause like this is not included then you may need to update your Will if you marry.

Another important time to consider updating your Will is following marriage separation because separation does not automatically have an impact on your Will. In NSW you must be separated from your spouse for 12 months before a family court will finalise your divorce. If you fail to update your Will after separation then any gifts which you have given to your former spouse in your Will would still be distributed to them if you died. 

A divorce affects your Will by revoking parts of the Will, including any gifts to the former spouse and an appointment of them as executor, trustee or guardian. These parts of the Will would not be revoked in this way is if you have expressed a contrary intention in your Will.

Updating your estate plan
In the event of a substantial personal life change such as marriage, separation or divorce you should consider creating a new Will, Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian to ensure that your estate planning reflects your testamentary objectives. In addition, you should also review and consider updating your superannuation Binding Death Nomination/s. 

For additional information about Shaw & Bunner Legal's estate planning packages please see our 'Wills & Estates' page or phone us on (02) 4046 1805.