Major life changes and making a will

Date: Aug 30, 2012

Making a will is an essential way for you to communicate your wishes and distribute your assets in the way you see fit - but it is also important to remember that wills can't be set in stone.

Major life changes can have a big impact on legal documents such as your will - and if you don't keep up, you may run the risk of having an invalid will or having the document contested in a court of law in the event of your death.

This is why it is important to use big changes as an opportunity to review your personal situation and ensure your will reflects your current circumstances. Seeking advice from an experienced wills and estate lawyer is the best way to do this.

Getting married

Getting married is an especially exciting time of life - and if you're planning to tie the knot, it is important to know about the way this change could affect any will you already have.

According to the Law Society of NSW, getting married usually cancels any existing will you may have in place - although there are some technical exceptions that you may wish to discuss with your lawyer.

Getting married also means that any future will that you or your spouse draws up needs to make adequate provisions for the other party - your lawyer will be able to advise you on what this entails and the information you need to include.

Separation or divorce

Just like getting married, becoming divorced or separated may signal that you need a new will. In some cases, your lawyer may recommend drafting an entirely new document, while in others, you may be advised to instead make a formal addition to your current will. This is known as a codicil.

It is important to know that divorce will cancel out any gifts you may have previously bequeathed to your former partner in your will - and they will no longer be appointed as your guardian, trustee or executor in the event of your death. However, your former partner may still have some involvement if there are children involved - your lawyer can provide you with the information you need.

Having a baby

Having a baby is an exciting time in anyone's life - and when it comes to making your will, you'll need to account for the new addition to your family. Your will needs to ensure you have made provisions not only for your spouse, but also for your dependent children - including your new arrival and any subsequent babies.