Wedding season is well and truly underway. Stags and hens up and down the country are finalising table plans, heading to last minute fittings and patiently counting down to their honeymoons. In the run up to the big day it’s unlikely that considering the need for a will is top of the agenda. However, it is in fact crucially important to consider.
It’s important for the bride and groom to know that not only will their wedding day (hopefully) be the best day of their lives, but it will also be the last day that any pre-existing will is legally valid. This is because under Section 18 of the Wills Act 1837 marriage revokes a will. Similarly, entering into a civil partnership revokes a will under section 18B of the Wills Act 1837. Therefore a person who marries and doesn’t subsequently update their will will be deemed to have died ‘intestate’ (see Lee’s blog on the rules of intestacy).
The only exception to this is where a will contains a ‘contemplation of marriage’ clause. Section 18 of the Wills Act 1837 sets out the relevant rules regarding these:
‘where it appears from a will that at the time it was made the testator was expecting to be married to a particular person and that he intended that the will should not be revoked by the marriage, the will shall not be revoked by his marriage to that person.’
Certain requirements must be met in order for such a clause to be effective:
It is therefore important for couples who have either got married without subsequently updating the wills, or who are considering getting married, to review their wills. Our Tax, Trusts and Estates Department can assist with this.