Monday, 8 December 2014

What happens to your Will if you divorce?

Your Will remains valid until your divorce is finalised.  At that point your former spouse will no longer inherit even if he or she is still named as a beneficiary.  Your ex-spouse may also be named as an executor which might not be appropriate any longer.

If you don’t have a Will you are deemed as being ‘intestate’.  After a divorce the main beneficiaries would be your children, but if you don’t have any children your assets will pass to your parents if they are still living.  If they have already died, your assets will go to your siblings, then more remote relatives.

It is a very good idea for divorcing parties to update their Wills because:
  1. If you do have children you can nominate who you would want to look after them, although your former spouse will have rights before anyone you nominate.
  2. You decide where your assets go - you may not want them to go to (say) your siblings.
  3. You can make use of allowances to reduce the liability to Inheritance Tax*
  4. You can decide to leave money to a charity.
  5. Any new partner that you have but aren’t married to will get nothing unless you’ve made a Will saying what you want them to have.
  6. If you have no surviving relatives, your estate could pass to the Government.
*One of my colleagues still swears that the only reason her husband eventually married her was to avoid Inheritance Tax if she passed away first - they worked out he’d be handing around £40,000 to the Government if they weren’t married.  It’s not romantic, but it is sensible!

Anybody who has any assets should make a Will, so if this is something you think we could help with, please have a chat with our friendly Wills team, just give us a ring on 029 2039 5888 or visit our website.

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