DATE PUBLISHED: 14 Dec 2016 LAST UPDATED: 01 Nov 2022

I’m getting divorced – do I need to make a new Will?

Divorce has a specific effect on the provisions in your Will which relate to your former spouse. On the date a Decree Absolute is granted (the last of the two court orders necessary to dissolve a marriage) your former spouse is removed from the Will as if they had died on the date of the Decree Absolute.

For example:

  • the appointment of a former spouse as executor fails to take effect
  • any gift or legacy to the former spouse fails

Depending on your circumstances, that could mean your Will is left without a beneficiary (called dying ‘intestate’) and in that case the intestacy rules dictate who would inherit from your estate.

What happens if you were to die during the divorce process without changing your Will?

In this scenario the divorcing spouse would be entitled under your Will (or intestacy if you have not made a Will) as if the divorce process had not been started. Even if your Decree Nisi had been granted (the first of the two decrees) that is still the case.

Another point to remember….. if you remarry in future that will revoke your Will (unless a clause is included in your Will that you are intending to marry your future wife/husband).

So if divorcing or marrying then you should always think about making a new Will.

Please contact the Wills, Trusts & Probate department for more details.

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