Hamlet had enough on his plate without worrying about whether his mother made a new Will after marrying his uncle so soon after her husband’s sudden death…
Many people are unaware that marriage revokes an existing Will, if it is not written in contemplation of marriage.
The destructive aspect of this is illustrated by the case of an elderly widower who made a Will in favour of his five sons and then married his mistress with whom he had been having an affair whilst his wife was still alive. He died intestate and the estate was not large so the sons received nothing and the new wife took everything. This was clearly not what was intended but as the revocation was by operation of law there was no basis on which the outcome could have been prevented other than by a Will made in contemplation of the marriage or by his making a new Will on his return from honeymoon . Sadly the old man’s mind was on other things and he never sought advice and the outcome was that the sons were disinherited.
Husband and wife married late in life. Both had made Wills several years earlier. The main beneficiary in the her Will was her son while his was a group of friends . Both Wills were revoked by the marriage. She died first, her husband inheriting her whole estate on her intestacy. When he died, his estranged blood relatives inherited not only what was his but also what he had received from his late wife, whose daughter received nothing.
So remember that if you are getting married, particularly if it is not for the first time, that alongside the wedding present list, you must review your will and recognise the effect that the marriage will have on your established pattern of inheritance.
Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides Wills and probate services with a personal touch to its clients – that go beyond the simple drafting of documents. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. If you require advice on making, defending or contesting Wills, please contact Neil Acheson-Gray or Ian West.