Many people don’t realise the affects getting married can have on your estate whether you die with a Will or intestate (without a Will).
A common misconception is that getting married has no effect on an individual’s Will, however this is not the case.
Quite simply, marriage revokes your Will unless your Will contains an in contemplation of marriage or in contemplation of civil partnership clause in there.
This can be an issue where someone has remarried and has children from his or her first marriage that should benefit under the terms of the Will. If the current Will does not include an in contemplation of marriage clause it will be revoked and therefore invalid. This means the deceased’s assets will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy.
Bob makes a Will in 2017. 3 years later he meets June and they decide to have a lavish wedding on a beach in Mexico. Tom fails to make a new Will after he marries Rose and dies soon after.
This means that Bob has died intestate and his assets will pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy. In this case it may work out well for him if his estate was worth less than £270,000 and he wanted it all to pass to June but what if he wanted to pass some of his estate to her and some to his parents?
If Bob had made a Will after he got married then his estate would pass in accordance with the terms of his Will.
Contemplation of Marriage or Civil Partnership
Earlier in this article we mentioned that marriage revokes a Will unless the existing Will contains an in contemplation of marriage or contemplation of civil partnership clause in there.
If the testator expects to be married to a certain person at the time the Will is signed, when they do marry, the Will shall not be revoked. The clause will need to include the name of the person the testator expects to marry. If they marry someone else, the Will will be invalid.
Two conditions need to be met in order for this clause to be effective. Firstly, the testator must expect to be married or form a civil partnership with the said person at the time the Will is signed. It cannot be included where the testator believes they will marry this person at some point in the future.
Secondly, it must be clear from the Will that the testator intended that the Will should not be revoked by the marriage or formation of a civil partnership.
What if the current Will contains an in contemplation of marriage clause and the couple go on to have a civil partnership?
If the current Wills include an in contemplation of marriage clause and the couple enter into a civil partnership, their current Wills will be revoked.