If you have married or entered into a civil partnership, should you make a Will?
Having considered the many advantages of entering into a marriage or civil partnership clients often ask whether they should make a new Will. To answer this we consider the effect of marriage or civil partnership on your Will:
If you enter into a marriage or civil partnership, this has the effect of automatically revoking your existing Will. If a new Will is not prepared subsequent to the marriage or civil partnership, the Intestacy Rules will determine the succession of your estate – how your estate is to be divided on your death.
How the Intestacy Rules affect you will depend on a number of factors including the date of death, your circumstances and the value of your estate.
Under current legislation, if following your marriage you die intestate after 6th February 2020, leaving children (which by definition includes legally adopted children but not step children), the intestacy rules provide that your surviving spouse or civil partner if they survive you by 28 days, will inherit all of your personal chattels irrespective of their value and the first £270,000 of your estate. The remainder will be divided as to half for your surviving spouse or civil partner and the half between your children. Where a child has died leaving children the grandchildren inherit their parent’s share.
It may be the case that you intend for your entire estate to pass to your surviving spouse or civil partner or for it to be divided equally between your children in its entirety. If these are your intentions then the intestacy rules may be inadequate and cause friction within your family.
In the event you do not have children on your death, the intestacy rules provide that your entire estate will pass to your surviving spouse or civil partner. This can be a cause of concern where a couple die in quick succession as your estate may pass through the family of your surviving spouse or civil partner under the intestacy rules or in accordance with the terms of your surviving spouse or civil partner’s Will over which you may have no control.
Whilst there are many advantages to marriage and civil partnerships particularly with regard to mitigating Inheritance Tax, we can help you to avoid the unforeseen consequences of the Intestacy Rules by updating your existing Will following marriage or by preparing a new Will in contemplation of marriage or civil partnership which will ensure your Will remains valid following your marriage or civil partnership.
If you have any questions regarding the above or if you would like to discuss your Will please contact our Private Client department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 020 8669 5145.
Disclaimer: although correct at the time of publication the contents of this post are intended for general information and shall not be deemed to be legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect to this article.