Why You Should Update Your Will When You Marry

In many places, after you get married, any previous Will becomes void unless there are specific things inside about your intended marriage. What this means is that if you die after you get married, the law decides who gets to have control over your estate (property and assets). Then there’s also an issue of divorce and separation. In order to keep the authority over your possessions and ensure everyone you care for is provided for, it’s necessary to update your will as soon as you get married.

 

Will when getting married

Once you get married, all previous Wills made (in most cases) will be made void. Let’s say that you share the family business and want your parents to get the shares after you die—this would not be true in case you got married and didn’t draw up a new Will. Without a Will, estate distribution would follow your country’s or state’s estate regime. The reason why this is problematic is that your assets might go into joint ownership by your kids from your first marriage, your kids from your current marriage and even your spouse’s kids. But if you get married and then write up a new Will, you can specify everything you want to happen with your estate after your death and it will be respected.

 

Separation or divorce

After separation, your current Will stay valid, no matter how long your separation ends up being. After you divorce and receive your decree absolute, your Will that was made before the divorce will stay valid as well. The biggest problem that can pop up here is the fact that many people put their spouse as a Will executor or beneficiary (alone or to share the title with children). After your divorce, though, your ex-spouse will be removed from your Will. If your ex was the only beneficiary of your estate, after divorce, this will fall under the intestacy rules and no one else will get to inherit the estate. 

 
Discover sustainable merino wool clothing at icebreaker.com
 

In case you were divorced with kids and happen to pass away, the estate will go to the children. If they pass away at the same time, the estate will go to your parents, your siblings or their children. If you’re divorced without children, the estate would automatically go to your parents or siblings. The importance of drawing a new Will can ensure that after divorce, all your loved ones are properly accounted for just the way you want them to be. As you can see, the laws of Will and estate can be very complicated, but with the help of experienced wills & estates lawyers, it’s possible to ensure your wishes are conducted just the way you want. Hiring pros can make the entire process much easier for everyone involved.

 

New marriage

Once you remarry, your Will be made void. To prevent that, you can draw up a Will that states that you want to keep your original Will in contemplation of marriage to a certain person. With this addition, you can freely get married to that particular person in the future and still keep your original Will valid after the wedding.

 

Ensure the kids are provided for

The main concern of people in marriages is the well-being of their kids. In case something happens to you, you want to make sure the kids get their share of the estate. If you happen to remarry, you still want to take good care of your kids after your death, but also ensure your new spouse is protected. One of the best ways to take care of everyone is to add a family trust to your Will that will allow your new spouse to live in your home until passing, after which the estate will go to your kids or whoever you specified.

 

When planning a wedding and starting a new life with your spouse, the Will might be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s easy to see just how important it is to draw a Will after you marry—it can ensure a happy and safe future for you and your loved ones. 

 

 

Peter Minkoff
Peter is a lifestyle writer at HighStyleLife magazine, living between Europe and Australia. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.