While most people are quick to change their Facebook relationship status to mirror any changes in their personal life, they are much less likely to update their Wills to reflect these major changes.
Most South Australians may be unaware that your Will is automatically revoked upon marriage. Section 20 the Wills Act 1936 SA outlines that a Will becomes invalid once you become married, or commence a registered relationship (see our article ‘Register Your Relationship’).
If you were to leave this unattended, the distribution of your estate will be decided by legislation and not by your specific wishes.
The only circumstance where a Will does not become invalid is if the Will was made in contemplation of that particular marriage. However, it needs to be sufficiently clear that the Will is not to be revoked upon marriage.
Unlike marriage, neither divorce nor separation revokes your Will automatically.
In South Australia, if you get divorced and your Will names your former spouse as an executor or beneficiary, these particular clauses are only revoked.
The other parts of your Will which do not benefit your former spouse will still be effective.
The period of separation which occurs prior to the divorce being finalised, or the period of separation from a de-facto partner, does not have an effect on your Will.
This is especially important in family law property settlement proceedings, where your former spouse will still have an entitlement to your estate.
In order to ensure that your estate is properly distributed in accordance with your wishes, you should ensure that your Will is kept up to date.
If you have recently been married or divorced, and have a Will, it may no longer be valid, and it is important that you attend to it as soon as possible.
If you have any questions as to when it is appropriate to draft up a new will and how to go about distributing your estate in the event of your passing, Georgiadis Lawyers can help.
Please contact Georgiadis Lawyers today on 8210 5400 if you are interested in having a Will prepared for you.