In the second of a series of articles about when a new Will needs to be made, Solicitor Vanessa Swales looks at what effect divorce has on a Will.
Divorce doesn’t automatically revoke a Will
Unlike marriage, divorce (or the dissolution of a civil partnership) does not automatically revoke your Will in its entirety.
Following divorce your Will remains valid, but it takes effect as if your former spouse (or civil partner) had died on the date the decree absolute (or the dissolution of the partnership) was made.
This means that your former spouse (or civil partner) will effectively be removed from your Will completely; any gifts to them will fail and any appointments of them (as an executor or trustee, for example) will be revoked.
The problem of failed gifts and failed appointments
This can create a number of problems. What happens to any failed gift? And if no substitute appointments are made in the Will, who will act in their place?
What about Lasting Powers of Attorney?
An added complication is the fact that people very often appoint their spouse (or civil partner) as their attorney under a Lasting Powers of Attorney, or LPA.
If the couple subsequently divorce (or their civil partnership is dissolved), the appointment of their former spouse (or civil partner) as attorney will be revoked. If their spouse/civil partner was their sole attorney and there were no replacement attorney, or if their spouse/civil partner was appointed jointly with other attorneys, then the Lasting Power of Attorney will cease to be effective.
How we can help
If you have recently gone through a divorce then we can carry out a review of your affairs, including any Will and LPA.
We will let you know if you need a new Will or Lasting Power of Attorney and can prepare these for you.
If you are uncertain about what you should do then you can speak to Vanessa on 0808 139 1606. Alternatively email us at [email protected]