What effect does marriage have on a will?

by The FindLaw Team

If you have already created a will, congratulations! Having a will is one of the most important documents that a person can produce if they have a number of assets, and beneficiaries. However, a person’s life situation is fluid and important life events do happen – such as getting married. Therefore, the important question to ask is: What effect does marriage have on a person’s will? Well, it’s a good question and if you want to know more, please read further.

Generally speaking, when a person gets married, any will made before the marriage will be revoked. However, wills made before a marriage that anticipates the marriage will generally be valid.

Again, it’s always a good idea that a person has a will. However, it is equally as important to create a new will after the marriage to ensure that a person’s intentions are fulfilled in the event of death because if there is no will, a person dying intestate may result in a number of issues for the surviving spouse.

The intestacy rules may differ between the jurisdictions but generally speaking, the surviving spouse may need to make an application to the Supreme Court for letters of administration and to be appointed as the executor. However, all jurisdictions grant entitlements to spouses in the case of intestacy.

What about de facto and same sex relationships?

Spousal entitlements extend to any person in domestic partnerships, which not only includes those who are married, but also de facto or registered relationships. A relationship will be deemed to be a de facto if the relationship has lasted for at least two years for a continuous period, or a child has been born from the relationship.

What effect does divorce have on the will?

It should be noted that divorce does not mean that the will is automatically revoked if made during the marriage. However, upon the finalisation of the divorce, any gifts bestowed to the former spouse will generally be revoked, unless it can be proven that the intended recipient of the gift was the former spouse.


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