Your Will can be impacted by a change in your relationship status.  How, and how much will depend on the type of relationship, the nature of the separation, and even the date of separation or divorce. 

If you separate from your spouse (and this includes if you are in a de facto relationship), then the terms of your Will are not impacted.

If you divorce however, (whether you are separated or not), then the divorce can potentially affect the terms of your Will. For this reason, when you separate or divorce, you need to review and most likely update your Will.

It is only from November 1989 that divorce has an effect on the terms of a Will.

If your divorce was before 1 November 1989, then your Will at the time of your divorce is not affected at all. Your ex-spouse would be entitled to anything given to them in your Will, unless your Will was revoked or updated.

If your divorce was finalised anytime from 1 November 1989 onwards, and you had a Will in place at the time of your divorce, any gift in that Will in favour of your ex-spouse is revoked. 

Your Will is read as if your ex-spouse has predeceased you, which means any provisions for substitute beneficiaries in your Will may apply.  If your ex-spouse was appointed as an executor or trustee in your Will, then that appointment is generally also revoked. However, there are some differences to how that appointment is treated depending on the date of the divorce.

As you can see, the law can easily become quite complicated depending on the circumstances, so the general advice would be to get your Will reviewed if you have any changes to your relationship status.

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