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After the highs of your wedding day, it's highly unlikely for your mind to turn to something altogether more serious like yours and your spouse's Will. However, drawing up a Will or, for those entering a second marriage or had a Will in place before the Wedding, getting it updated and put back in place is absolutely vital. Without it, your inheritance could end up in the wrong hands and not where you'd hoped it to be, with your loved ones.
Zoe Bailey, Chartered Financial Planner and Director at Tilney, shares her advice on the steps to take to get your Will in order after marriage:
1. Draw up a Will
Tying the knot means that if you die without a Will, the rules of intestacy apply meaning your spouse receives everything, provided you have no children. While this might suit some families, it does also mean that any assets financial or otherwise, you'd previously intended on leaving someone else won't receive it. To ensure every part of your estate is fully accounted for and left to whom you want it to, a comprehensive Will is vital. Remember: where there's a will, there's always a way.
2. Avoid ambiguity
It's important that your Will avoids any ambiguity, as otherwise it can be contested. Contested Wills were at an all-time high in 2019 according to the Ministry of Justice, as families got involved in bitter battles for estates, which can be deeply distressing for everyone. Consulting a solicitor is the best way to ensure it accurately reflects your wishes and there are clear instructions for the beneficiaries.
3. Assess your Will after remarrying
If you're getting married for the second or third time, then you'll need to draw up a new Will to reflect your new marriage. If you already had one drawn up, then this is revoked on your date of Divorce and your date of new Marriage and your estate will be dealt under the intestacy rules, so it's important to reassess how you want your estate to be distributed now that you've entered a new marriage.
4. Think about your children
If you have children and you haven't made a Will, when your die your spouse receives everything if your estate is under £270k. If it is worth more than £270k, then any remaining inheritance is split 50/50 between your spouse and your children. Therefore, if you want to divide up your estate in a different way with your family then you'll need to outline this. For blended families, there is even more thought needed to ensure your Will accounts for any children you have from your previous relationships. The same applies for guardianship. Unless outlined in your Will, the Court appoints guardians of your children. So, to make sure your children are financially and emotionally supported, it's vital to draw up a Will.
5. Don't delay
With the turmoil of Covid-19, unfortunately, it's widely thought an expected spike in the number of contested Wills is on the way, with lots of people left without legal protection should their partner have passed away. This proves the point about getting your Will sorted as soon as possible. So just remember, you don't have to wait until after your wedding day is over to get your Will finalised – do it now, and then you can easily get it replicated after your wedding day. That way, you'll have a concrete plan for the future in place, protecting both yourself and your loved ones from any future financial stress.