10 Reasons why you MUST update your Will if you divorce or separate
Why you need to update or write a Will after divorce of separation.
Updating your will after a divorce or separation is an important step to ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected in your estate planning. In Australia, as in many other jurisdictions, divorce can have significant implications for your will. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider writing or updating your will after a divorce or separation:
Divorce or separation often leads to changes in your personal, financial, and familial circumstances. Your will should reflect these new realities accurately.
In fact you should update your Will after any major life change
Automatic Changes to your Will due to Divorce
In some jurisdictions, including parts of Australia, a divorce may automatically revoke certain provisions of your will that relate to your former spouse, preventing them from inheriting. However, this may not apply to all parts of the will, and it’s essential to make explicit changes.
Appointing New Beneficiaries
You may want to remove your former spouse as a beneficiary and designate new beneficiaries, such as your children, other family members, or friends.
It is common for a couple to leave all their assets to the other, then the kids. If you have divorced you will definitely want to change that.
If you have children from the marriage, you’ll want to ensure that they are provided for in your will, either directly or through a trust, if necessary. A trust is best for young children who are unable to manage their money.
You cannot necessarily rely on your ex-spouse to take care of your children financially, so you should do so in your Will.
Appointment of Executors
You might need to change the executor of your will if your former spouse was previously appointed or if you want to appoint someone else who better reflects your current circumstances.
If you die without a Will your former spouse can become the Executor of your estate if they are the other parent to your minor child/ren. Writing a will shuts this back door against your Ex gaining control over your estate and money.
Guardianship of Minor children
If you have minor children, you may want to designate a guardian in case something happens to you. This becomes especially important if your former spouse is no longer the appropriate choice. Or if you ex-spouse dies before your children are of age.
Writing a Will is principally about protecting your family.
Dealing with Jointly Owned Assets
If you and your former spouse owned property or assets jointly, you might want to specify what should happen to these assets in your will, especially if you have not finalised your property split.
You will also need to sever joint tenancy over any assets which could mean that your former spouse automatically becomes the owner of the property, therefore depriving your estate of that asset. Speak to one of our lawyers if you have any questions about how to deal with jointly owned assets.
Without a valid will, your assets might be distributed according to intestacy laws, which might not align with your wishes and could lead to complications for your loved ones.
It’s your money, you should decide who gets it.
It’s also important to create certainty for your family left behind.
Your next of kin will need to make an application through the Supreme Court to ascertain how your assets are to be distributed if you don’t have a will.
You might have been paying or receiving alimony or maintenance payments. Your will could address how these financial arrangements should be handled in the event of your passing.
Updating your will can help prevent potential conflicts or legal disputes among your family members over your estate. Clearly outlining your intentions can help reduce the chances of disagreements later on.
Your death will be hard enough to manage for your loved ones, don’t make it worse by leaving a mess for them to clean up. The stress of estate challenges can be enormous. If you can prevent conflict through proper planning, you should.
Remember that laws can vary based on your location within Australia, so it’s crucial to consult with a qualified legal professional who specializes in estate planning and is familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. They can guide you through the process of updating your will to ensure your wishes are accurately reflected and legally binding.
This is commentary published by HazeLegal for general information purposes only. This is not meant to be taken as particular advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, or alternatively get in touch with the writer at http://hazelegal.com.au before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories.
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