Wills Month: Is your Ex your Ex-ecutor?
There are many considerations to be made after a divorce or separation. What will happen to your assets? Who look after the children? One factor that often gets overlooked however is how does this affect my Will? We advise our clients to review their Will with an expert solicitor whenever their circumstances change because not doing so can lead to problems down the line.
Factors to consider after separation
No matter how long you have been apart, your spouse remains your next-of-kin until the Decree Absolute is issued by your solicitor and in the event of your death, they will be entitled to the majority, if not all, of your estate.
A case emerged in 2014 of a woman, Victoria Kendrew, whose partner, an ex-police officer, committed suicide. The man had intended to leave his estate to Ms. Kendrew but never updated his Will to include her before his death. Because of this his estranged wife inherited his estate which consisted of his boat, car and other belongings to the value of £180,000.
Ms. Kendrew who was furious with the situation allegedly fabricated a Will and forged her partners signature in order to claim the estate. She now faces charges of fraud.
This case is obviously an extreme example but illustrates the importance of considering what will happen with your estate with a solicitor after separation from your wife.
Is your Ex-Wife/Husband also your Ex-ecutor?
There are also complicated situations that can arise if your Will has not been reviewed with a solicitor after your divorce has been finalised. If for example your ex-wife or husband is named as your executor then this will be nullified after your divorce (Executors are the people nominated by you to carry out the wishes outlined in your Will – see our jargon buster for more info here.)
If there have not been any provisions made for a replacement this will cause a real headache after your death with unnecessary solicitor and court fees to be paid in order to manage the situation.
A Will is also important to ensure your children are provided for after your death. If you have young children a Will will allow you to name a guardian for them until they turn 18.
Speak to Us
If you have yet to make a Will or need to make amendments to one, there are many opportunities to do so: if you are over 55, and wish to make or amend your Will, then opt into ‘Free Wills Month for October. Alternatively, make your Will with us this November with Will Aid– there is no fee, and all we ask in return is for a donation to one of the nominated Will Aid charities.