Can a change in personal circumstances affect my will?

In short, yes. A change in personal circumstances is a good time to review your will to ensure it is valid, up to date and reflects your changed circumstances.

How your changing circumstances might affect your will is set out below (based on the law in Western Australia). We recommend periodic review of your will, particularly if your personal circumstances change.

Marriage

A will made by you prior to marriage will automatically be revoked by your subsequent marriage unless it was specifically made in contemplation of your being married. This is usually achieved by placing a clause in your will expressly stating that it is made in contemplation of your marriage. Other evidence can be relied upon to establish your will was made in contemplation of marriage. However, an express clause is simple and avoids the potential need for costly legal proceedings to establish the validity of your will.

Separation

In Australia, the parties to a marriage must be separated for 12 months before being able to apply for a divorce.

If you are separated and awaiting a divorce, it is important to revise your will to ensure it meets your current wishes in terms of who benefits from your estate. Separation will not revoke (invalidate) your will, but if you pass away before obtaining a divorce (or if you do not have a will at all) your estate may not be distributed in accordance with your wishes. This includes your former partner possibly being entitled to a share of your estate.

A prompt review of your will upon separation will ensure your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.

Divorce

Like marriage, divorce will automatically revoke your will unless it was specifically made in contemplation of your being divorced. An express clause stating your will is made in contemplation of divorce is the simplest way of avoiding potential problems.

Making/Reviewing your will

Making or reviewing a will does not need to be a complex process. Whilst your individual circumstances will dictate what is necessary, the issues discussed above can be avoided fairly simply.

We can draft your will on a low, fixed price basis and we offer convenient, online consultations.

We also offer free initial consultations and can answer any questions you might have about making a will. See our website for contact details.

The content of this article/post is intended for information purposes only. It is a general guide only and not legal advice. You should seek specific legal advice about your individual circumstances.

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