31 August 2018
Major life changing events should trigger will update
The case involved a married man who had a disabled child and a step-daughter with his wife but also had two children with a woman whom he had also been living with at the same time. Although he was in the process of going through a divorce, these had not finalised at the time of his death.
The Will did not provide for his partner nor her children, and so she had to resort to bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on behalf of their young children, for a lump sum of £850,000. Her claim was allowed, but not for less than half of the amount of the original amount claimed.
This emphasises the importance of reviewing your Will when going through divorce proceedings and generally after any significant life event, such as the birth of a child, to make sure that your children are provided for.
The costs of making changes to your Will can pale into insignificance when put up against the costs your estate may have to incur in defending claims that are brought by or on behalf of people that feel that they should have been included in the Will.
If people are going through a divorce, they may wish to make sure that either their Will is amended to provide for people other than their spouse, or if they do not have a Will, they should put one in place to ensure that the intestacy rules do not apply which would see the whole or at least part of their estate pass to their spouse.
Even if a couple are going through a divorce, it is only once the Decree Absolute has been obtained that your spouse is treated, for the purposes of reading your Will, as having predeceased you and therefore provisions for them in your Will are deemed to be ineffective.