Wills & Divorce

If you divorce or your marriage is annulled your will is NOT invalid. Any gifts to or appointments of your former spouse made within your Will are however invalid. Your Will acts as though your former spouse died on the date your decree became absolute.

This usually means the gift falls back into your estate for the benefit of the next tier of beneficiaries who would inherit if your former spouse had died before you. Therefore, if your Will states that you leave your estate only to your former spouse, then the effect is as if you had died intestate (without a valid Will) and the rules of intestacy decide how your estate is distributed.

Furthermore, if you had appointed your spouse as an Executor and/or Trustee, the will still takes effect as if he or she had died before you. Even if you had appointed him or her as Trustee of a Trust for the benefit of your children, that appointment fails. That might not be what you want, even though you are divorced, you may still want them to be responsible for your children’s trust fund.

Therefore, it is advisable to make a new will immediately after your divorce. You can also make your new Will in contemplation of the divorce at any time after separation but before divorce to avoid issues such as these.


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