Updating Your Will After Separation: Why It Matters for Your Future

by Jacqui Brauman


In the challenging aftermath of a separation, amidst emotional turmoil and countless adjustments, the thought of succession planning might not be foremost on your mind. However, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of revisiting your will, especially if you’re still legally married.

This article sheds light on the significance of updating your will post-separation, addressing the potential complexities that may arise if this crucial step is overlooked.

Updating Your Will After Separation: Why It Matters for Your Future


The Importance of a New Will

When you’re separated but still legally married, your spouse retains the greatest claim on your will. Even under the laws of intestacy – governing situations where there’s no will in place – your spouse automatically inherits everything, unless there’s a blended family involved. Whether or not you’ve settled your financial matters, creating a new will post-separation becomes paramount to reflect your current intentions.


Impact of Financial Settlements

Even if you’ve completed your financial settlement, failing to update your will can pose complications. If your previous will allocated everything to your spouse, this stands as a legal document unless amended. Unlike marriage, where a new union typically invalidates a prior will, divorce operates differently. Divorce acts as a legal recognition of a significant change, treating the former spouse as if they’ve passed away. This ensures your testamentary wishes align with your current circumstances.


Divorce vs. Separation

It’s essential to distinguish between divorce and separation when it comes to wills. Divorce streamlines the process by treating the ex-spouse as if they’ve predeceased you, automatically redirecting inheritances to the next in line, typically the children. However, separation doesn’t trigger this effect, necessitating a proactive approach to safeguard your wishes.


Next of Kin Considerations

Even if you’re separated, your spouse remains legally recognized as your next of kin. This holds implications not only for inheritance but also for medical decisions. Considering powers of attorney becomes crucial in outlining the extent of your ex-spouse’s rights over your life in case of incapacity.


A Simple Step for a Secure Future

Amidst the complexities of legalities and emotions, creating a new will after separation is a straightforward yet critical step. This ensures clarity for emergency situations and safeguards the well-being of your loved ones in case the unexpected occurs.


In times of separation, contemplating the future may feel overwhelming. However, a new will stands as a practical and essential measure to protect your wishes and simplify matters for your immediate family. Take this step not just for yourself, but for the peace of mind it brings to those you care about most.

Reach out to our team at admin@tbalaw.com.au or call 1300 043 103 if you need expert advice and personalized assistance.