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Does a Will take priority over marriage?

(14 Posts)
Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 20:02:11

Can any legal experts give me some advice on the following scenario? Many thanks.

A woman in her forties, single, no DC, owned own home had written a Will leaving everything to her parents and brother. This woman then met someone who moved into her home and they married shortly after. Three years later, the marriage failed. Would the husband have a case for claiming some of the house, even if he hadn't contributed to the mortgage, was not named on the title deeds or mortgage and was not a beneficiary in the earlier Will?

Would be very grateful for your advice, which is for a dear friend of mine.

YoniMatopoeia Sun 16-Feb-14 20:03:17

Did they get divorced?

WhoWasThatMaskedWoman Sun 16-Feb-14 20:05:44

Yes if you get married then any will made prior to that date is null and void, unless it specifically states that it's "in contemplation of marriage" i.e. you state in the will that you are about to get married to Mr X and you wish your will to remain unchanged.

mumblechum1 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:14:37

Exactly as the pp mentioned. Wills are automatically revoked on marriage unless it states that any gift to a cohab will remain in force.

I'm a will writer and whenever writing wills for an unmarried couple always ask if there's any chance they'll marry, and if so put in a declaration so that the wills remain valid on marriage.

Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 20:16:29

Thank you for quick responses.

They are not divorced.

Will was made prior to even meeting the husband so no "in contemplation of marriage".

mercibucket Sun 16-Feb-14 20:36:27

do you mean that the woman has died? i think the husband would get everything unless another will was written after marriage. but if she hasnt died (sorry, just the use of present tense in your last post) then she can write a will now.

Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 20:42:04

No, she is still very much alive. She is trying to protect her assets.

mercibucket Sun 16-Feb-14 20:44:16

then she needs to write another will

that wont stop him making a claim on her assets on divorce though

will leave thread to the experts now though

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 20:44:17

Not a legal opinion but can't she just write a new will saying that the marriage is over and the original will stands?

exexpat Sun 16-Feb-14 20:49:50

Yes, she needs to write another will ASAP.

Marriage invalidates previous wills, and if you don't write a new one, the usual intestacy laws apply which mean that most of your assets go to your spouse (even if you have split up but are not yet legally divorced).

But as long as she is in England or Wales, she can write a will which leaves nothing to her husband (rules in Scotland are a little different, I think).

Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 20:54:20

She's in England

mumblechum1 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:26:06

If I was writing her will I would put in a declaration that she is separated and is expressly excluding her husband from it, in order to avoid him claiming under the Inheritance (provision for family and dependants) Act 1975, or at least to mitigate the risk of him doing so.

With my ex divorce lawyer hat on, she needs to see a family specialist as soon as possible as he may well have acquired rights under the MCA 1973.

Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 22:13:43

Thank you mumblechum, that's good advice.

MOSagain Mon 17-Feb-14 08:39:29

totally agree with mumbles (having briefly put both hats on)

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