A simple guide to divorce and wills

Originally published on 21st October 2019 at 2:32 PM
Reading time: 3 mins
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If you’re mid-divorce, or post-divorce, the last thing you want to see right now is probably another legal document. But when it comes to your last will and testament, there’s no better time to get things sorted. It’s not even that expensive, or difficult. Here’s why.

What happens to wills on divorce?

Not a thing. Some see this as problematic. If you die before your divorce is finalised, everything will be treated the same as if you and your spouse were still together.

  • If you have a will, the will is still valid.

If you left everything to your spouse, they would still get that money as well as any property and belongings stated. Even if you’re no longer living together.

“What happens if I don’t have children?”

Your spouse will get everything. However, you do have kids, your spouse will get everything up to £250,000, half of anything over that amount, and all your possessions.

So, dying before your divorce is done may well mean that your money, property, belongings, and assets will all go to your ex. Even in amicable splits, that’s not exactly ideal - especially if you have children or a new partner to support.

What does divorce mean for your will?

Once your divorce is all settled, things are different.

With a will

If you have a will, the will is still valid. BUT your ex can’t inherit anything from it. Anything you said you would leave to them will be treated instead as though they died before you.

Often, this means everything will go to the beneficiaries next in line in your will. But if you left everything to your partner, with no back-ups, your estate will be dealt the same as if you had no will at all.

Without a will

Without a will in place, intestacy law kicks in. This is a set of rules that decides which of your relatives should inherit. You’ll have no say in who will inherit your money, property, and assets. Both these options come with a lot of unintended consequences. So, it’s essential to make a fresh will once your divorce is finalised.

Of course, a will is worthwhile anyway…

Most people plan on making a will at some point. If you’re recently divorced, or just separated, now is a really good time to get sorted. After all, your priorities will have changed quite a bit.

But there are other reasons to do it:

  • Leave your money, assets and belongings to the people you choose
  • Protect your loved ones (parents, children, new partner) after you’re gone
  • Give gifts to friends who have supported you
  • Avoid a hefty inheritance tax bill
  • Prevent fights between family members
  • Make a difference with a charitable gift

If you would like to create a will, please visit this website here. And if you would like to speak to one of our Divorce Specialists, we offer free 15-minute calls which you can book by clicking the button below.


Can a divorced spouse inherit?

If the deceased left a will, it overrides the rules of intestacy and determines who inherits. A divorced spouse has no automatic right to inherit under a will unless specifically named in the document.

Should I make a will before divorce?

A clear ‘will’ can help prevent disputes and emotional turmoil among your loved ones after your death. Knowing your wishes are documented can ease the burden on your family during an already difficult time.

Am I still next of kin if separated but not divorced?

Yes, you are still considered next of kin if you are separated but not divorced in most jurisdictions. However, we recommend speaking with a legal advisor or specialist as this may vary depending on jurisdiction.

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Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

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