The Gravity of Major Life Changes Like Divorce

Having a valid Will in place is an essential part of an effective estate plan. However, it is also essential to ensure that your Will is regularly updated to reflect major life changes. One of the most commonly occurring life changes is divorce. Legally, divorce or the annulment of a marriage has the potential to impact your Will.

Important Consideration – What does the Wills Act Say?

In terms of Section 2B of the Wills Act 7 of 1953, if a person dies within three months of getting divorced, and that person made a Will before the divorce. That Will shall be treated as if the previous spouse had died before the divorce. Unless it is clear from the Will that the person intended to benefit his or her previous spouse despite the divorce.

Practically, this means that there is a grace period of three months after a divorce. In this time you can update your Will to exclude your previous spouse from inheriting from your estate. This ensures that if you die within three months of your divorce without having updated your Will, in doing so your ex-spouse will not benefit unless you specify in your Will that you still wish them to benefit despite the divorce.

You may of course update your Will at any time more than three months after your divorce. This leaves the risk that if you die after the grace period, your ex-spouse will still inherit from your estate. Therefore, it is advisable to update your Will within three months of getting divorced to prevent your ex-spouse from inheriting from your estate unintentionally.

Impact – Divorce is Considered a Major Life Change

Divorce is just one example of a major life change after which your Will should be reviewed and updated. Other examples include marriage, the birth of a child or grandchild or becoming the owner of a business.

Your Will sets out important aspects such as who your executor and trustee(s) will be, who you would like to inherit from your estate. A will also outlines your wishes regarding crucial considerations such as security, collation and your burial/cremation.  

Dying without a valid will creates uncertainty for your loved ones. It often increases the length of time required to administer your estate.

This can be avoided by having a valid will drafted and regularly reviewed by experienced professionals like our team at Marsh Fidelity. Our Will drafting service includes an annual check-in. This is to ensure that your current Will is always up to date and inline with your true wishes.

Partnering with professionals who care can make a world of difference to those you leave behind. The great news is that who you appoint as executor is completely within your control. Closure is so important and a well written will administered by professionals helps with closure.

Protect the Interests of Those You Love the Most

To ensure that your will and estate planning is in order partner with us. We will help you ensure that your assets and loved ones are protected when you pass away.

Contact us today at [email protected] or visit our website at https://marshfidelity.co.za to find out more about our services. Download our app to stay up to date with all news on wills, estates and trusts.

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