Marriage, Divorce, and Civil Partnership – Factsheet on Wills

The Facts:

  • Without a Will the distribution of assets upon your death is decided by an old act of parliament, no regard is had to your preferences.
  • Until a decree absolute is ordered by the court, your spouse could still be a beneficiary of your estate under the archaic intestacy rules, even if you were involved in divorce proceedings prior to your death.
  • Co-habitees have no entitlement to your assets upon your death if you do not have a Will.
  • If you already have a Will and you then marry or form a civil partnership, then that Will is normally automatically revoked.
  • When you divorce or end a civil partnership, once the court order has been made, any Will you already have which names your former spouse or partner, will still apply, but will be read as if your former spouse or partner has died before you.

Our advice:

  • Always have a professionally drafted, up to date Will.
  • Upon any break down of your relationship, consider whether you would still wish the provisions of that Will to apply, it is likely that amendment may be desired.
  • If you do not have a Will already and your relationship breaks down, find out how your estate would be split under the intestacy rules and have a Will professionally drawn to prevent this occurring.
  • Never wait until your decree absolute or final dissolution order is made by the court before addressing the issue of your estate. If you were to pass away whilst proceedings were still ongoing then your spouse or civil partner could still inherit under the intestacy rules or pursuant your existing Will.
  • If you have married or formed a civil partnership since the date of your current Will, you need to make a new Will as it is likely your current Will has been revoked by that marriage or civil partnership.

Should you wish to discuss matters further, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our specialist Wills & Probate team.

Meet our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team

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Claire Atkinson


Tel: 01457 835597


Debra Walsh

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Ivana Bailey


T: 0161 682 2400

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Darren McGuinness


T: 0161 456 5012

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Paul Stock

Consultant Solicitor

T: 01457 836174


Anne Bradwell

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Kelly Jackson

Probate Executive

T: 01457 835597