Sunday 2 October 2011

The Effect of a Divorce on Your Will

Article by
Sharon Brown
Sadly, many relationships break down and end in divorce. It can be a very emotional time for everybody but particularly for parents with children to consider as well.

If you made a Will whilst you were married it is important to review your Will as soon as possible into the divorce proceedings. Until your decree absolute has been granted you remain married and if your Will leaves everything to your spouse he or she will still inherit.

If you have not made a Will, your estate will pass under the intestacy rules which still make provision for your spouse.

If you have children from a previous relationship your spouse may decide to alter the terms of his or her own Will meaning your children may not receive any inheritance.

Your Home:
It is also important to review the way in which you own your home with your spouse. Many married couples own the property as ‘joint tenants’ which means that on the death of the first person the property automatically passes to the survivor – regardless of whether or not you have changed your Will to leave your estate to your children or anyone else.

It is possible to ‘sever the tenancy’ which means you will then own the property as ‘tenants in common’. This means that you each own half the house and you can then leave your share of the property in accordance with the terms of your own Will.

If you are not sure how you own your home we can check this for you.

Appointing a Guardian:
One of the main concerns for a parent when a relationship breaks down is the care of any children.

If you have parental responsibility (the legal rights, duties and authority of a parent) for your child/children you can appoint a guardian within your Will who can then take care of them if you pass away before they reach the age of 18.

If when you pass away there is a surviving parent with parental responsibility the guardian will not usually take up the role until that parent has also died, unless there was a residence order in your favour at the time of your death.

If you have any questions about the issues raised please email Sharon or telephone 01992 422128 .

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Tel: 01992 422 128


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