The effect of marriage on a Will depends on the terms contained in the Will. If you have a Will that you have signed before you get married, then the marriage automatically revokes your Will. However, despite this, the following provisions in a Will are not revoked by your marriage:
(a) a gift to the person to whom you married if you are still together at the time of your death; or
(b) an appointment as executor, trustee, or guardian of the person to whom you are married if you are together at the time of your death.
There are limited circumstances where marriage will not revoke your Will. For example, if the Will was made in contemplation of marriage, then the Will remains in place and is not revoked by marriage. To ensure this you will need to include the express words that you are making the Will in contemplation of a particular marriage.
Updating your Will after marriage is often put off or forgotten about entirely, but is critical to do. If you died without making a new Will after getting married, your estate would be treated as if there was no Will, that is: intestate.
This means the legislation will determine who is entitled to that part of your estate which was not left to your spouse in the Will. Under the current intestacy laws, your spouse would likely be entitled to most and possibly all of that part of your estate, and this may not accord with your wishes, especially if you are now in a blended family, or have children from a previous marriage.
As you can see, the law can be quite complicated, and so it is best to review and update your Will when you marry to ensure that the Will reflects your new circumstances and your wishes.
Please note the answers provided are for your general information only and we ask you to call our office on 02 6331 2911 to obtain detailed legal advice for your individual situation.
Wills & Estates | Kenny Spring Solicitors