Wills, Estates & Succession Planning 05 June 2024

Significant life events that can impact your estate planning

Does marriage automatically revoke your previous Will?

Section 13 (1) of the Wills Act 1997 (Vic) states that any marriage will revoke a previous Will. This can leave your estate at risk of not being distributed according to your wishes.

Are there any exceptions to s 13(1) of the Act?

The Wills Act does provide limited exceptions to your Will being void upon marriage. One exemption in particular is where your Will explicitly specifies that it was made “in contemplation of marriage”.

How does divorce affect a person’s Will?

When you get divorced, your former spouse is generally treated as if they had predeceased you in your Will. This means any gifts or roles you’ve assigned to them will be revoked.

Does this law apply to your Power of Attorney documents?

No, even if you are divorced, your power of attorney documents will remain valid unless you revoke or update your documents.

What if a person is separated and not formally divorced, how does this effect a person’s Will?

Separation, without divorce, does not automatically revoke provisions in your Will benefiting your spouse. This means unless explicitly stated otherwise, your estranged spouse could still inherit from your estate, act as your executor, or have other roles specified in your Will.

When you have children, what should individuals consider when creating a Will?

  1. Appointing a guardian for your minor children who you trust, shares your values and who is willing and able to take on this responsibility.
  2. Establishing trusts for minor children can ensure that their inheritance is managed responsibly until they reach a certain age.
  3. Clearly outlining how you want your assets distributed among your children. Consider their individual needs, capabilities, and financial responsibility when making these decisions.
  4. Don’t forget to update your will regularly to reflect any changes in your family dynamics, such as births, deaths, or changes in guardianship preferences.

For more information on Significant life events that can impact your Estate Planning, click here to listen to our podcast When there’s a Will, there’s a way, Episode 10.

Kayla Kennedy.
Kayla Kennedy Associate Wills, Estates & Succession Planning View profile
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