I made a Will before I got married, do I now need a new one?
If you made a Will and later got married, it’s likely you no longer have a valid Will. This is because, unless a Will is specifically referred to as being made in contemplation of marriage, it will be revoked by a marriage. In the event of death, if there is no valid Will, a person’s estate is administered in accordance with the intestacy rules. This means that if a person is married with children, the first £250,000 plus personal chattels pass to their surviving spouse and the remainder is split into two parts, one part for the children outright when they reach 18 and the other part is held on trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse during their lifetime and then on to the children equally.
This could cause problems in the event of a second marriage as children from a first marriage could be left out accidentally simply because it wasn’t known that a marriage could revoke a Will.
If you have made a Will previously and are about to get married or have since been married, it may be useful so seek advice on the validity of your Will.
Can I make a Will without a solicitor?
You can but most of the problems arise when it comes to signing the Will. DIY Wills usually have instructions to be followed which people do not always understand or carry out.
A solicitor has insurance if the Will is incorrectly drafted for some reason. If the solicitor’s firm closes or changes ownership, the Law Society will be able to tell clients who has custody of their Will so this gives greater security for the safeguarding of an original Will.
What happens if a Will isn’t signed properly?
If you have only one witness or the Will is defective for some other reason, then your estate may be administered following the terms of an earlier Will or, if there is none, under the intestacy rules. These are rules to pass your estate, depending on value, to your nearest relatives in order of priority, which may not always be what you initially intended.