In Australia, the laws governing marriage and divorce are legislated at the Commonwealth level of government. However, laws surrounding your estate planning are regulated and legislated by each State and Territory.
Marriage is a significant moment in people’s lives and usually the last aspect you would want to consider when getting married is ‘what happens when I die’. However, often individuals sign their Wills and store it away without much consideration for future circumstances.
A review of your Will after marriage (especially in blended family situations or second marriages) is important because a marriage may revoke your Will.
A revoked Will may result in you being intestate when you pass away. This may mean that the administration of your estate will be subject to your domicile’s jurisdiction. In the case of New South Wales, intestate estates are administered in accordance with the Succession Act 2006. This may mean that when you die your assets may not go where you initially intended them to go.
A simple solution to avoid this confusion and complication for your loved ones, is to have a solicitor at least review your Will after your marriage to ensure that it both accurately reflects your wishes and to see if a new Will is necessary.
Alternatively, in some situations, you can avoid the problems before you get married. – Say for example, that you and your de facto partner buy a house and you are engaged to be married but neither of you have a Will – you may make a Will in ‘contemplation of marriage’. This allows your Will to remain valid after subsequent marriage.
For more information regarding the revocation of Wills or Wills made in contemplation of marriage, please do not hesitate to contact Elringtons Lawyers on 02 6206 1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, we invite you to phone our office to make an appointment with our estate planning specialists to review your Will and estate plan.
Revocation of will by testator’s marriage, civil union or civil partnership – ACT Wills Act 1968 Sect 20