Protecting your Wishes as a Mr or Mrs

All legal advisors
22 October 2019

It may sound hugely unromantic but many brides and grooms-to-be don’t consider their Wills when making wedding arrangements. Death isn’t a subject that pairs well with the happiest day of your life, but it’s hugely important to address because marriage will revoke an existing Will.

Dying intestate means that the distribution of their estate will be by operation of law, rather than according to their wishes. The intestacy rules are very rigid and only provide for blood-relatives and in a highly prescriptive order.  

 

Contemplation of Marriage

Provisions in the Wills Act 1837 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004 allow a Will to be drawn up in contemplation of a marriage or civil partnership and for the Will to remain valid after the event. Converting a civil partnership into a same sex marriage does not automatically revoke or otherwise affect an existing Will.

 

Are there specific conditions involved?

Specific conditions must be met to ensure that a Will is not revoked by a future marriage or civil partnership:  

  • The Will must name a specific person and cannot be expressed to be in contemplation generally of a future marriage or civil partnership. It is not enough to say, for example, “my future spouse” – the person must be clearly identified; 

  • The marriage / civil partnership must be anticipated in the foreseeable future – this will be a question of fact, but testators should consider the contemplation of marriage exemption a temporary arrangement – an engagement of ten years would probably fail the test of foreseeability, and 

  • There must be an intention on the part of the testator that the Will should not be revoked by the subsequent marriage / civil partnership and that this is expressly stated in the Will. 

 

Can you address this within Arken Professional?

Arken Professional software now offers the ability for a practitioner to include contemplation of marriage within a Will.

We recognise that relationships can be complex and sometimes changeable, so we’ve in-built maximum flexibility to the process of drafting Wills in contemplation of a marriage or civil partnership,” explains Samantha Warner, Senior Legal Advisor at Arken.legal. “It’s possible, at the click of a button, to create a Will that is effective only if the marriage or civil partnership takes place, whether or not it takes place, or only if it takes place within a certain time. To ensure that the Will remains valid if circumstances change, such a Will is specified as treating the spouse / partner as predeceasing the testator if the marriage or civil partnership does take place.”   

There may be circumstances where a testator will want to make a Will contemplating marriage or civil partnership but still make provision for their partner even if they do not ultimately tie the knot. In this case, an Arken multi-part Will, allowing the testator to specify their wishes in the different circumstances, is the perfect solution. 

 

A contemplation of marriage of option has been created due to client demand and is now available as part of the standard Arken Professional package. For more information please email info@arken.legal or call 01732 867 792.