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Is your Will still Valid? How Marriage and Divorce affects the Validity of your Will

Family Law

Many people are unaware that marrying or divorcing after you have made a will can affect its terms, or render it completely invalid. How your will may be affected depends on whether you are getting married or divorced and who you are married to.

Marriage

Under the Succession Act 2006 (the Act) the starting position is that marrying revokes your will. However, this revocation will not apply to certain provisions of a will, for example, any gift made to a person to whom you are married at the time of your death, or any appointment of that person (for example as executor of your estate or guardian of your children) under your will.

Divorce

Unlike marriage, divorce does not have the effect of revoking your will. Generally it simply revokes any gift to your former spouse, or any appointment of that person (for example as your executor) under your will.

Divorce will not, however, revoke any appointment of your former spouse as guardian of a child or children (so long as the spouse is the parent of that child), or a power for the former spouse to make an appointment in favour of that child or children.

It must also be noted that you can avoid the above effects of the Act by stating in your will that the will is made in contemplation of marriage or divorce. In such case your will remains in effect.

If you have any questions about the above, or would like to check how your marriage or divorce has effected your will, please contact our Estate Planning team on 02 9411 4466, or by email.