Why you should make a new Will when you get married

Not many people realise that when you get married, any Will you already have usually becomes invalid.

The law states that marriage automatically voids a Will unless it specifically makes reference to the new marriage. This is called making a Will in contemplation of marriage, and the Will needs to specifically name your new spouse.

In all other circumstances, your Will is no longer valid. Should you die before replacing the Will, your estate will pass under the Rules of Intestacy.

Who gets your money if you die without a Will?

The intestacy rules state that the first £250,000 of your estate will pass to your spouse along with all of your personal possessions. Any money over and above £250,000 will be split as to 50% to your spouse and 50% equally between any children you may have.

This can result in your children receiving substantially less than you might have wished. For example, if you have three children and an estate worth £550,000, your spouse would be given the first £250,000 plus 50% of the remaining £300,000, ie. a total of £400,000. Your children would each be left an equal share of £150,000, meaning they would each receive £50,000.

How to ensure your children are provided for after remarriage

Even if you do make a Will, you need to think carefully about what you want to leave to your new spouse and how you can ensure that your children are also provided for.

If you choose to leave everything to your spouse on the understanding that they in turn will leave money to your children, unfortunately you have no guarantee that will ultimately happen.

Your spouse’s circumstances may change, they may spend or lose the money, marry someone else who might then inherit it or they could incur substantial care home costs.

To ensure that your money and property will eventually pass to your children, you can have a Will drawn up that creates a trust for them.

This will allow you to leave a lifetime interest in any property to your spouse together with an income from any capital money. On their death, everything then passes to your children.

Making a Will

If you plan to remarry then you should consider having a Will professionally drafted, particularly if you already have children from a previous relationship.

It is important to have a valid legal document clearly setting out your wishes, to avoid any disagreement or misunderstanding at a later date.

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