Marriage invalidating a will


29-Nov-2019 19:51

It is therefore essential to make a new Will after a second Marriage has occurred to ensure that your new spouse can benefit from your estate in line with your wishes.

Any Will Writer, Estate Planning Consultant or Solicitor will tell you that even if you have already made a Will you should still review it if you have had or plan any major change in your circumstances.

A BBC article published on 21 November 2018 highlighted the case of Joan Blass, who was 91 years old and suffering with vascular dementia when she married a man 24 years younger than her, a year before her death.

Joan’s family only learnt of the marriage after she had passed away and, as a consequence of the marriage, the will she had made a couple of years earlier – and importantly before her marriage – was revoked and her new husband had control over her entire estate.

This means that If such a clause is added and written correctly, partners who are wanting to make Wills leaving their estate to each other but are planning to get Married can plan ahead and ensure that their Wills remain valid.

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This principle was established by section 18 of the Wills Act 1837, which applies to wills executed before 1 January 1983 and states that “every will made by a man or woman shall be revoked by his or her marriage’ and section 18 of the Wills Act 1987 (substituted by section 18(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1982, which applies to wills executed after the 1 January 1983 and states that “a Will shall be revoked by the testator’s marriage”.

The general rule was extended after the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which puts same-sex couples who register their partnerships in the same position as married couples in relation to succession.

There is a statutory exemption from revocation by marriage for same-sex couples who convert their civil partnership into marriage (section 18D Wills Act 1837).

There are however, exceptions to this general rule.

One of them is that if the will is made “in contemplation of marriage”, the marriage will not invalidate the will.Marriage is a hugely significant event for everyone, regardless of religion or background.