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Don't wait until your divorce is final to update your will

View profile for Claire Read
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Dont wait until your divorce is final to update your will
Update your will

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they are filing for divorce after 27 years of marriage. I very much hope that Melinda and Bill have an amicable divorce but for a large proportion of couples, divorcing can be a stressful and acrimonious time.  

In my experience, there are not many separated couples that would be happy for their husband or wife to receive their assets and money in the event of a sudden death.  However, this may become a reality if a separated/divorcing couple do not consider updating their wills.  

In the UK, when married or civil partnership couples separate there is no change in the legal status of their relationship for wills or power of attorney issues. A change only arises when a couple have received their decree absolute or final order. It is a common misconception that couples are legally divorced when the decree nisi or conditional order is received. This is just the first stage in the legal process and until such time as the decree absolute or final order is made, a person is still married or in a civil partnership.  

Consequently your spouse or civil partner will inherit under the rules of intestacy or under your existing will right up until the court orders the decree absolute or final order. 

If you do not wish for your spouse or civil partner to receive your inheritance, it will be necessary for you to consider making a will or amending your existing will. We can advise on the process and explain the potential claims that your spouse or civil partner may bring. If you are divorcing or dissolving your civil partnership, don’t just get in touch with our divorce specialists, contact our wills, trusts and probate team to discuss your will and powers of attorney.

I can be contacted on 01245 453835 or claire.read@birkettlong.co.uk.

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