Separation and divorce are significant life events that can have various legal and financial implications. One crucial aspect that is often overlooked during this time is the need to update your will. A will is a legal document that sets out how you want your assets to be distributed after your death.
Changes in Circumstances: Your will should reflect your current circumstances and wishes. Separation and divorce usually lead to a change in your assets and liabilities, and your existing will may no longer be appropriate or valid.
Beneficiary Designations: Your former spouse may be listed as a beneficiary in your existing will. If you do not update your will, your former spouse may still inherit your assets, which may not be your intention after separation or divorce.
Guardianship of Minor Children: If you have minor children, your will should specify who you want to be their guardian in the event of your death. Separation and divorce may lead to changes in your preferences regarding guardianship.
Distribution of Assets: In Australia, if you do not update your will after divorce, any gifts or bequests to your former spouse will be invalidated, unless there is a contrary intention in your will. However, this is not the case if you are merely separated. If you pass away while separated but not yet divorced, your existing will is still valid, and your former spouse may still inherit your assets.
Appointment of Executor: Your former spouse may be listed as the executor in your existing will. If you do not update your will after divorce, your former spouse will no longer be eligible to act as the executor, unless there is a contrary intention in your will. Again, this does not apply if you are only separated.
Assets and Liabilities: Make a list of all your current assets and liabilities. This will help you determine how you want to distribute your assets and who you want to be the beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries: Consider who you want to be the beneficiaries of your estate. This may include your children, other family members, friends, or charities.
Executor: Consider who you want to appoint as the executor of your will. The executor is responsible for administering your estate and carrying out the wishes outlined in your will.
Guardianship: If you have minor children, consider who you want to appoint as their guardian. This person will be responsible for the care and welfare of your children in the event of your death.
Legal Advice: It is advisable to seek legal advice when updating your will to ensure that it is legally valid and reflects your current wishes.
Updating your will after separation and divorce is crucial to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your current wishes and circumstances. Failure to update your will may lead to unintended consequences and may cause additional stress and conflict for your loved ones. It is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that your will is legally valid and accurately reflects your wishes.