One of the most overlooked facts regarding UK Wills is that marriage revokes any current Will the testator has at the time. Most ‘Newly Weds’ do not consider re-visiting their Wills immediately after marriage to ensure that they are still valid and in most cases, the answer is no.
There are provisions that can be made within a Will to ensure that it is not revoked upon marriage, giving the happy couple one less thing they need to consider at such a stressful point in their lives. If you see an unmarried couple, one of the first things you should ask if whether or not the clients are expecting to marry. There is no time period that is considered too soon or too late to include this within a Will, as long as the clients have a valid Will that will not be revoked.
Under s18a Wills Act 1837, should the testators divorce and only one, or neither party have re-written their Wills since, this does not mean the Wills are invalid, or that the now former spouse will receive the entire estate. S18a states that should this occur, then the former spouse would be treated as if he/she has predeceased the testator. Any gifts or appointments of the spouse will simply fail and the Will would read on into any further provisions made.
Similar to writing a Will in preparation of marriage, you can write a Will for a pending divorce. Whilst WillPack cannot offer advice for the divorce settlements and the splitting of assets, we can include a clause to exclude s18a Wills Act 1837 for the occasion of each party separating on reasonable terms and, for example, are happy with each other acting as Executors and Trustees. This is most common in situations where minor children are involved. If this is not included and the testator wishes to keep their former spouse in the Will after the divorce, a new Will would need to be signed.