It is important to make a will so that on death your estate goes to the people you wish it to go to. So, it is not surprising that most married couples will have their spouse as the main beneficiary in their will. However, upon separation, at a time when you will be trying to secure your financial position, it is important that you rewrite your will. If you do not, then your estranged spouse would still receive the gift upon your death if they remain named in the last will you have made. This is the case if you die without getting a formal Final Order of Divorce, even though you may have been separated for many years.
However, if your will described your ex as your ‘husband’ or ‘wife’s and you die after a Final Order of Divorce, then because that relationship no longer exists then that part of the will would fail. It would nevertheless leave the possibility of the ex-spouse making a claim that you may well have intended to keep them as a beneficiary.
Another important point is that if you remarry you should make a new will because a will made before the marriage will be void.
Generally, it is advisable to review your will periodically, at least every 2 or 3 years to consider changes in circumstances such as relationships, finances and tax rules which could affect your wishes on how to leave your estate.
We recommend you obtain early legal advice so that you can understand all of the relevant factors that will be taken into account upon your separation. Contact one of our specialist Family team here.