We have recently got married and have been told that our Wills are no longer valid. Is this true?
Unless your Wills specifically included wording that they were made in anticipation of your marriage, I’m afraid the short answer is yes; marriage, or Civil Partnership, makes a Will invalid. Your Wills were automatically revoked under a Statute called the Wills Act made back in 1837. This was done to protect Victorian women who were to marry and could not own property themselves. It is a little out of step with the modern world and the Law Commission are currently consulting on changing this.
If you die before making another Will you will die ‘intestate’ and the rules of intestacy would take over. As you are married, how this works depends on whether or not you have children. If there are children then your spouse will get all your personal effects and the first £250,000 of your estate and half of anything that remains, with the children getting the other half when they are 18. If there are no children your spouse gets everything.
Of course not having a Will means you cannot appoint Guardians for your children if you both die, or provide that they should inherit later (we have all been 18!) or to have certainty as to who should get your estate and avoid your family falling out. You can only give to charity with a Will, or make sure that you pass assets to your loved ones in the most tax-efficient way.
Clifford Johnston & Co's Wills and Probate Solicitors in Manchester have in-depth expertise at all aspects of will writing and estate planning, for certainty and peace of mind, we will be happy to discuss your situation.