Divorce and wills – She loved me, she loved me…not?

30 Mar 2017 | Comment


Some people say that if you ignore something for long enough then it will go away. However, like the Price-Andre relationship, sometimes the past will keep coming back to say hello. For those of us who have a series link for Loose Women, you would have seen Katie Price’s recent surprise at the discovery that her current will still leaves everything to ex-husband, Peter Andre.

Thankfully Katie came to the realisation that she ought to update her will to include her youngest children and current husband; but what would happen if she had not?

Whilst we are I’m sure all pleased to hear Katie and Peter are somewhat amicable again, in terms of probate, things might not necessarily be so straightforward.

Marriage will revoke a previous will unless it was made in anticipation of the marriage. Therefore, Katie’s subsequent marriage revoked her previous will which was prepared when she was married to Peter (unless it was made in anticipation of her marriage to Kieran Hayler – which appears highly unlikely!).

Therefore, if Katie dies without making another will then her estate would be subject to the intestacy rules. Lee’s blog discusses what would happen in that case.

The position would have been different had she not re-married.

Unlike marriage, a divorce does not revoke a will. However, the effect of the divorce is that it treats the ex-spouse as having pre-deceased the testator. Therefore anything left to Peter would fail.

If Peter was named as the sole residuary beneficiary of Katie’s estate, and she had not made provision for a substitute beneficiary, the intestacy rules would again apply (see above).

This reinforces the need to ensure that your will is regularly checked, and updated where  appropriate. 

Therefore, if a married couple separate they should each think about making new wills as soon as possible. They do not have to wait until the decree absolute, and indeed it may be imprudent to wait until this.

If like Katie you are unsure of the pitfalls that divorce and marriage can have on your will, it is advisable to seek professional advice. Our Tax, Trusts and Estates department provide specialist advice on such issues.

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