Changing Your Will Once You Separate Or Get Divorced

Separations are ugly. No one wants to go through the phase of being parted with someone they have been so close to for as long as they can remember, but sometimes certain separations are also inevitable. There are always circumstances that leave you with no other option but to part ways with someone you thought would stay by your side for the rest of your life.

The emotional burden of dealing with a separation is a complex issue to deal with and it’s one that you will get easier with time. But one thing that cannot wait is your Will – and any changes you’ll need to. When you enter into a supposedly long-term relationship with someone, you tend to bequeath them some of your wealth with the confidence that you will grow old together.

Be it a serious relationship or marriage, there are often cases of people changing or writing a will in a way that their partners get a good share of their wealth. However, all of this starts going haywire if they decide to separate. It is always advisable to change your will after getting separated or divorced with your partner. This would not only bring clarity to your intensions, but would also avoid any issues arising after your death.

In the majority of the cases where there is a serious separation or a marriage breakdown, the thought of changing a Will would not be at the top of someone’s priority list. However, this ends up being a mistake that costs many people a huge chunk of their estate.

Inheritance In Case You Have No Will

No matter how serious the issue is and how bitter the separation is, you would still be related to your partner in the eyes of the law as nothing has changed when it comes to the law of inheritance. It is important for you to make a new will after you get separated from your spouse because they stand to inherit all of your wealth in the event of your death.

On the other hand, if you make a new Will that states your new wishes regarding your wealth, you will be able to ensure that your estate is disturbed exactly how you intend. If you die without making a will, Intestacy rules come into play. There are certain statutory rules that are used to distribute your property in the accordance of the set legislation. Such rules hold maximum importance in case you get separated from your partner before your death.

Intestacy Rule If You Were Married With No Children

If you’re married with no children and you die without a Will, all of your property would directly be handed over to your partner. This would make no sense if you were divorced before your death. Therefore, make sure you specify the same in your latest will and clearly mention the beneficiaries for your wealth after the separation with your spouse.

Intestacy Rule If You Are Married With Children

This can get slightly more complicated than the previous issue. In case you are legally married with children and die without making a Will, the first £250,000 of your wealth would directly go to your spouse. Further, your spouse would also be entitled to 50% of the remaining wealth, the balance of which would be divided equally among your children. This makes it clear that no matter who had the custody of children after separation, if there is no change in your legal will, your ex-spouse would still receive a huge chunk of your wealth. This may also lead to your spouse ill-treating your children after your death, which you’d never wish to happen.

Making Will For A New Partner

If you are in a new serious relationship or are married to a new partner after your divorce, it is important to mention them in your Will if you wish them to be your beneficiary. Cease your old Will from functioning and draft a new one as soon as you get seriously involved with your new partner.

In case you are getting married again, your new spouse would be entitled to your wealth by law. However, if you are in a serious relationship but not married, your partner has no legal right to any of your estate unless you explicitly order so. Therefore, it is always beneficial for all the parties to be clear about their current relationship with their partner and their willingness to bequeath them with their wealth.

If you fail to make a new will for your new partner, it would lead to a chaos after your death. There is likely to be arguments as your ex partner would still be entitled to your wealth according to the law.

Making Legal Provisions For Step-Children

If you get separated from your spouse, your children have rights to your property. All you need to do is make a will that states how much each of your children would receive after your death, irrespective of the custody taken. However, your step-children would not be entitled to your property unless you make a special provision for them in your Will. While your own children will be able to inherit your wealth in the absence of a Will, your step-children would not have the same rights. There are cases where people are close to their step-children and are on good terms with them. In such cases, they may not leave their wealth for their former partners but they would for their step children.

If this is the case, you need to make sure that you craft a new will that has a clear bifurcation of your wealth among your current wife (if any), your former partner (if you wish so), your children with the former wife and your step children.

This would clear the air between all the parties and the distribution of your wealth would be smooth and peaceful after your death.

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