Divorce is not easy. It is emotional and stressful in certain situations. There are a lot of decisions to be made, especially in reference to a shared estate. When you separate from your spouse or partner, a new will is needed so that your estate does not go to them unless you want it to. See below for two examples.
1. Without a will:
A couple is married for seven years and has one child. Spouse A leaves Spouse B (provides 70% of the income), and the child lives with Spouse B. Spouse B has not yet started the paperwork for the divorce and then dies unexpectedly without a legally valid will.
Spouse A and the child would be heavily impacted by the death and could lose assets that would help them financially. Although Spouse A would likely inherit Spouse B’s assets according to intestacy laws, spouse B could have prevented this by creating a will at the time of separation and remember you can create a will online here.
2. With an out-of-date will:
Spouse A and Spouse B have mirror wills after entering into a civil partnership. These wills state that everything will be left to each other upon their deaths. They are now separated and living with others. Without a new will, the old will is still valid until the dissolvement of the civil partnership.
Does Divorce or Dissolution of a Civil Partnership Automatically Revoke a Will
Divorce or dissolution of civil partnership does not automatically revoke a will in the same way marriage does. Upon divorce or the dissolving of your civil partnership after a will is written with any reference to a former spouse or civil partner is treated as if they had died on the day that the decree absolute or final dissolution order was made. If that should happen, legal advice should be sought.
Updating a will or creating a new will when circumstances change is very important. While a divorce is ongoing, a spouse still has certain legal rights . Below are a few tips you should do if you are starting a separation, divorce, or dissolution.
1. Update Your Will and Amend Your Trust
First and foremost, you should update your will. Contact us at Wills Trust LPA Online and let us help you through this process and answer any questions you may have.
2. Update Your Medical Directives/Health Care Proxy
If you should be in an accident or fall ill and become incapacitated, your health care proxy and directives need to be up to date. Who do you want making decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself?
3. Change Your Power of Attorney
This is especially true in a divorce that is not amicable. If there is one, the old will need to be revoked and a new one executed to protect assets and finances. When changing the power of attorneys, it is best to notify (you or a solicitor) the other party in the divorce.
Powers of attorney are executed while someone is of sound mind. They are set up to handle financial decision-making and medical decision-making—decisions in case you become incapacitated. These may be designated to the same person or two separate people.
The purpose of a power of attorney is to ensure your wishes are honoured in case you cannot make decisions for yourself. At Wills Trust LPA Online, our solicitors can help you understand the details you should account for in your will.
4. Know what you can and cannot change
Find out if you can change the beneficiary designation on life insurance, 401K, retirement accounts, etc. Sometimes the designations have to stay in place until the divorce is final.
5. Review pre and postnuptial agreements
If you have these agreements, have your solicitor review them. Your new estate plan should be consistent with your prenuptial agreement.
6. Upon finalization, review your plan
Once the divorce or dissolution of the civil partnership is complete, revisit your estate plan and see what will need to be updated.
We are here to give you and your family guidance as you traverse the landscape of divorce. With such a major transition in one’s life, we at Wills Trust LPA Online are happy to help you plan for your next chapter.