If you made a will during your marriage, what happens to it after you get divorced? Does divorce nullify a will? Or is a will still valid after divorce?
Does divorce nullify a will?
Divorce does not automatically cancel your existing will, nor does it reinstate your will from before you were married. Your current will remains valid after your divorce is finalised but, if your former partner is named in your will, they will be treated as if they died before you. This means that they will not inherit. In most cases, you may no longer want a former spouse to inherit but this is not always true.
What happens to my will if my divorce is not finalised?
When you are separated or going through the divorce process, the terms of your will remain effective until you receive your decree absolute. This means that anything gifted to your former spouse in your will is still valid unless you update it, regardless of how long you have been separated for.
What if your former spouse is an executor of your will?
Until your divorce is finalised, your former partner continues to be the executor of your will if they were appointed as such. This is not the case after your divorce is finalised though and the appointment of your former spouse as executor is no longer valid. Consider that this may leave your will without executors which can make the process even more complicated.
If your former spouse was not the executor of your will even when you were married, it’s still important to appoint someone you trust after you get divorced as your ex-partner may still be able to take control of your estate if it is left to your children.
If you’ve recently been through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution, we recommend updating your will as a priority. We understand that the breakdown of a relationship can be a very stressful time and you may not be thinking about your will when there are child arrangements or financial complications to resolve, but that’s why we’re here to help. Get in touch with the Wills & Probate team at King Street Solicitors if you need advice.