How Does Marriage Impact Your Wills and Estate Planning

How Does Marriage Impact Your Wills and Estate Planning

Many individuals believe that their whole inheritance would transfer to their husband or wife without any complications if they pass on. 

While this may be factual in certain cases, it is frequently more difficult. Neglecting to form a legal Will or alter an existing Will when you marry might result in various problems if you predecease your spouse.

It’s crucial to understand that any current Will you have will be cancelled when you marry (unless it was created specifically ‘in anticipation of marriage’). 

If you don’t make a will after that, you’ll die intestate, and the Intestacy Rules will determine how your estate is distributed. Mostly, your spouse will inherit all or most of your assets, but reliant on the size of your estate, any offspring you have may also inherit a portion of it.

Read on to update your wills and estate in Redland Bay after marriage. 

What Impact Does Marriage Have on Your Will and Other Estate Planning Documents?

Your Wills and Estate Plan may not be at the top of your priority list for wedding planning. 

However, being married (or divorced) might influence any existing Will, Power of Attorney, or Appointment of Guardian you may have. 

Similarly, if you didn’t have any of this paperwork before marriage, now is the time to complete them (before marriage or divorce). Many individuals do not realize how ‘valued’ they are.

The Impact of Marriage on A Pre-Existing Will

Unless an exemption exists, all Will made before the marriage will be revoked.

Suppose you have a Will and estate created and executed before your marriage. In that case, it is possible that it has been automatically cancelled and that your estate will not be directed in the way you expect or desire.

Exceptions To the Cancellation of A Marriage License

The following are exemptions to the common rule that marriage revokes prior Wills:

  • If the Will is written “in contemplation” the marriage; and
  • The Will’s provision for the new spouse is not cancelled.

What Does It Mean To Be “In Contemplation”?

It is advisable to add a language specifically indicating that the Will will not be repealed in the case of marriage in a Will created “in anticipation” of marriage.

If your Will does not contain this clause, it will be exceedingly difficult and expensive for your executors to establish that it was written with the forthcoming marriage in mind. This is especially problematic if most of the supporting documentation was lost, forgotten, or destroyed between Will’s creation and the date of death.

While the ‘in contemplation’ phrase does not have to relate to a specific marriage, it is frequently preferred. Otherwise, if the Will does not include provision for a future spouse and is not amended, the Will may not provide for your spouse after you marry.

Marriage’s Impact on Your Enduring Power of Attorney

A previously executed Enduring Power of Attorney is not automatically revoked by marriage. After you marry, the people appointed as your Attorneys will still be able to function.

It’s also worth noting that a Power of Attorney granted later does not immediately cancel a previous Power of Attorney. 

Any previous Powers of Attorney should be considered when drafting a new one. If the new Power of Attorney is to take the place of the previous one, a formal revocation should be drafted and given to the Attorneys who were appointed under the old one.

Conclusion 

Getting married can substantially impact the effectiveness of any previous Will, Power of Attorney, or Appointment of Enduring Guardian in most cases (with a few exceptions). If you’re thinking about getting married, you and your partner should update your prior estate planning paperwork or, if you don’t have any, get new ones made with the help of family lawyers. 

Bickell & Mackenzie is a well-known family-owned legal business in the Redlands region. Conveyancing (purchasing and selling residences, commercial enterprises, and retirement homes), Wills and Estate Administration, and Family Law are among the firm’s specialities. Contact us if you need legal consultation. 

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