A divorce tends to prompt a review of your financial position, including updating your Will. As with every element of estate planning it’s important to consider your personal circumstances and wishes for the future. Steve Wright, our Estates Director, explores what it’s useful to be aware of when it comes to considering your Will and estate plans following a divorce.
Divorce is likely to impact almost every element of your life, including your finances. Despite it being a difficult time personally, a divorce offers a good opportunity to take stock, and ensure that you have thought through all elements of your finances and estate plans, to make sure everything is in order.
One of the first, and most important, considerations should be your Will. Under UK law everyone has the right to distribute their estate as they wish, and if personal circumstances change your Will is likely to need updating to ensure that your assets will be passed on as you want. If you do not have a Will your estate would be distributed according to a strict order set down in UK law. It’s therefore vital that this important task isn’t overlooked.
Ahead of your decree absolute, or the final order of the Court, do remember that your spouse or civil partner will remain entitled to some or all of your estate, depending on its value, and your family structure. Once your divorce is finalised it is important to update your Will appropriately.
If children are involved, you should have a sensible discussion with your former spouse/partner/civil partner about what would happen if you both predeceased your offspring. You will need to agree on who you would ask to take on the responsibility for raising your children and ensure that your wishes are reflected in your Will.
Other situations to be aware of
If you are co-habiting with another person and have been for more than two years, then they may be able to make a claim for provision to be made for them from your estate. The same is true for a spouse or civil partner where the formal dissolution of that relationship has not been approved by the Court. In these circumstances it is important to seek professional advice when changing the terms of your Will.
Don’t forget your Power of Attorney
If you had set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, you may need to re-visit this important document, and consider who you would want to act for you, should you become incapacitated or unable to look after your own affairs.
Review your investments and insurances
If you have any assets held in trust, or pensions, it might be that these would be inherited by someone you’ve previously nominated to receive them. As a result,
its vital to check with the fund administrators to see if any nominations are in place and need updating.
It is also worth reviewing your life insurance, in case you had a joint policy or one which was connected to the marital home and mortgage. In this situation you will need to make new provision in line with your new circumstances.
At The Fry Group, we offer a professional service tailored to individual requirements. We will help update your Will and ensure that your estate plans are in order and in safe hands. We pride ourselves on being open, clear and approachable at every stage. For further information please contact your nearest office.
Steve Wright, Estates Director