When you marry, any existing Will is automatically revoked. In the situation of this, the rule of law takes charge in deciding how your assets are divided, until the parties involved in the marriage contract renew their Wills to effect their new status. Mostly, this would mean your entire estate would go to your wife, husband or civil partner – which may not be what you precisely want.
Making a Will before marriage is important and safer than avoiding making a Will, but there can be complications. If you have clear ideas about the management and distribution of your estate, seeking advice at an early stage is a vital step.
Alternatively, a Will can remain valid after a marriage takes place if it is made beforehand in contemplation of marriage. This creates a whole lot of opportunities for fiancés or fiancées. Both parties can now make Wills and assert as such that it is made in anticipation of their upcoming marriage.
Importantly, it is not enough to expect to marry in general, or sometime in the future – you must expect to marry a specific person, and in a reasonable amount of time. Making a Will in contemplation of marriage or a registered civil partnership should help your loved ones receive as much of your estate as you would like them to.
What does it mean when your Will is not Valid?
A person who dies without leaving a will is called an intestate person. When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy.
It is important that every person above the threshold age of eighteen take their Wills seriously. If you make a Will that is not legally valid, the rules of intestacy will decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will.
The legal standpoint in the case of an invalid Will is as though there was no will, to begin with.
Now without a Will, the rules around intestacy are complex, differing between the regions. Fundamentally, the issue is that you do not have control over who may receive what, making the period even more stressful and emotional for the surviving spouse.
Naturally, only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy. There are general guidelines to interstate laws like, for instance, if there are no surviving children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, the partner will inherit the whole estate of the deceased.
However, if you have a spouse and children, chances are your spouse will not be your sole beneficiary. It’s best to avoid the hassle of intestacy if you can. In the unfortunate event of death, your loved ones will be less bothered by it.
Will after marriage
Marriages are legal contracts that have repercussions on many other legal aspects of your life. These include your federal income taxes. If you want to revise a Will that was made before marriage, it has to be done right to avoid worst-case scenarios. A popular incentive is that married couples or civil partners may leave everything to one partner and be exempt from inheritance tax.
Good advice, when making a Will usually is to get professional legal help. Your lawyer will help you make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed as required by your province’s legal codes.
Mirror will and Joint will
Mirror Wills are simply separate Wills that are nonetheless virtually identical, leaving the estate to the same beneficiaries. This is a common solution when both parties want the same will.
A joint Will is another way this can be achieved. A joint Will is a single Will that applies to both parties of the union. The problem with mirror wills is that although the wills themselves are legally binding, there is no legally binding contract between the husband and wife.
Everyone is freely able to decide how their estate is gifted, and there is nothing to stop someone from revoking a mirrored Will without his or her spouse knowing, or changing the will at a later date (for example on remarriage after the death of the spouse).
Wills made prior to divorce remain valid. However, it is considered a healthy practice legally to review your will whenever your personal situation changes. In the case of divorce, your spouse ceases to be an executor of your will. Depending on the situation, this may not be what you want. Sorting this out is paramount to avoid future hicks. You can make a new Will at any time after separation before the divorce to avoid these issues occurring at all and do not have to await the decree absolute.
In the situation of a remarriage just like a newly-wed couple, the will of the parties involved becomes null. Similarly, in the case of remarriages, only Wills made in contemplation of the marriage to a specific person retain validity after the marriage.
When it comes to the issues of important binding legal documents such as wills you should not think of making them as a once-in-a-lifetime event. You should always have a Will in place that reflects your current situation. You should write your first will as soon as you are an adult, and then update it throughout your life as your circumstances change.
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