Will

If you have a Will then you’re already one step ahead. But is your Will up to date? When was the last time you reviewed the terms of your Will?

As your circumstances change, it is important to ensure the terms of your Will reflect your current wishes. It’s a good idea to review your Will after important events in your life such as a change in relationship status, changes in your financial situation, the purchase or sale of property, or births/deaths of family members.

This is not only to ensure your wishes are up to date, but because some life events can revoke or invalidate provisions in your Will, and this can have unintended and unfortunate consequences.

Marriage
If you have recently married, your Will may no longer be valid.
If you were to die without a valid Will, your estate would be distributed according to the rules of ‘intestacy’ set out in the Administration Act. This may not be in the way you intended.

The exception to this is if your Will was made while you were planning on getting married, and your Will states it was made “in contemplation” of your marriage to your partner.

Your Will isn’t likely to be a top priority right after your Wedding, so speak to your lawyer before your big day and make sure your Will is up to date.

Separation or Divorce
Unlike marriage, separation does not revoke a Will. If your ex-partner was named in a Will you made prior to your separation, that ex-partner may still benefit under your Will.

If you obtain a separation order or an order dissolving a marriage or civil union from the Family Court some provisions in your will become void. The Will must be read as if your ex-partner died before you. Any gift to your ex-partner or appointment of your ex-partner will be void.

So, if your circumstances have changed recently, or you haven’t looked at your Will in a while, it may be time to chat to your lawyer about reviewing your Will.

This Article was published in First Mortgage Trust's "First News" Issue 86 June 2021.

Rebecca is a solicitor in Simon Collett’s commercial/property team.