It’s not a secret that getting divorced is a stressful and emotional time. While the priority that most people deal with is the division of assets, it is also important to update your Will. You want to make sure that your assets go to the people you care about in the event of your death and that your children are provided for in the way you want.
So, how do you update a Will after separation?
What is a Will?
Very briefly, a Will is a legal document that appoints a beneficiary or beneficiaries of your belongings and assets in the event of your death.
What if I don’t update my Will after separation?
Your Will is a legal and binding document, regardless of when you signed it. If you die before you update yours, the wishes that are legally documented will be used to distribute your assets, even if you have since changed your mind.
This can result in assets going to a person who is no longer part of your life.
How does divorce affect my Will?
Under Australian law, divorce affects a person’s Will in different ways depending on the state or territory you live in. In some circumstances, a divorce can completely nullify a Will, but this is not something you can rely on. Plus, in these cases, you could be left without a Will, which can cause its own complications.
In most states, though, a divorce will nullify any gifts or bequests appointed to a former spouse unless a judge believes it is still your wish that they should receive them.
Why update a Will after separation?
It is very important to note that while an official divorce can nullify parts of your Will, separation does not.
If you are separated but yet to be divorced, then your Will is still likely to be legally binding.
This is why you should move quickly.
Updating your Will
The first step is to review your existing Will and identify any changes that need to be made. It’s very likely that you have appointed your former partner as an executor or beneficiary, so you need to remove them.
You also need to consider who will be responsible for distributing your assets after your death. If you have your former partner down as your executor, aim to remove them and appoint a new executor instead.
It is also important to review any trusts or other arrangements that you have in place. If you have a trust for the benefit of your former partner, you may need to modify or revoke it to ensure that your assets are properly distributed according to your wishes.
In some cases, a separation or divorce can result in a complex estate planning situation. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage or relationship, you may need to consider how your money and assets will be distributed to ensure your children are adequately provided for. You may also need to consider how your assets will be distributed if you have a blended family.
If you have children under the age of 18, it is important to appoint a guardian in your Will. The guardian will be responsible for the care and well-being of your children if you pass away. If you have recently separated or divorced, you may need to review your choice of guardian and consider whether your former partner is still an appropriate choice.
Get support to update your Will after separation or divorce
Your needs and wishes should be priority as you go through a separation. When you work with an experienced lawyer, the process to update your Will and make sure it is legally binding should be straightforward.
Give yourself and your family peace of mind. Reach out to Crest Lawyers to start preparing your Will today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this news post is general in nature and is intended to provide a general summary only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Whilst the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact upon the accuracy of the information.