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Do I Have To Change My Will When I ReMarry?

Many individuals marry again and have children from a previous marriage or relationship – which can be tricky when it comes to looking after everyone in the future, after you’ve gone.

Having a valid and up-to-date Will is a crucial way to avoid a stressful and potentially expensive family dispute after you die.

What Can Happen In A Second Marriage When There’s No Will

The vulnerability of being married for a second time and having children from an earlier relationship but not having a Will, was recently highlighted by the case of John and Ann Scarle, an elderly couple who died without having made Wills.

John And Ann Scarle

This couple died of hypothermia in October 2016 but their deaths were not discovered for a week.

Experts couldn’t establish the exact date and time of their deaths, and crucially couldn’t establish who had died first. As the bungalow was jointly owned, knowing who died first meant knowing which of their daughters from previous marriages would inherit.

As a result of the inability to establish who died first, Judge Kramer relied on the Law of Property Act 1925 which states when it’s impossible to establish the order of deaths the younger person should be presumed to have outlived the older partner.

Ann was the younger of the couple and her daughter inherited their bungalow. John’s daughter got nothing other than a hefty legal bill as she was deemed unwilling to mediate.

The Importance Of A New Will

When you marry again, any previous Will is automatically cancelled. This can leave you in a vulnerable position until you make a new Will – if you die before making one, the distribution of your estate will be determined by the rules of intestacy. As your previous Will is no longer legally valid, it can mean your wishes are not followed and that your children could lose out.

A new Will should enable you to protect your new spouse as well as children from a previous relationship.

One way to provide for a surviving spouse and protect any inheritance for your children from another relationship is with a trust. This would allow your spouse to benefit from the trust assets during their lifetime but when he or she dies, the assets would pass to your children.

How We Can Help You With Your New Will    

Our expert Wills and Probate solicitors are experienced at helping clients with every aspect of family law and inheritance, including when it comes to making a new Will for your children following a second marriage.

We tailor all advice and will ensure we understand your situation before helping you make the right Will for you and your family. There are options that let you provide for both your new spouse and your children, and make sure that even after your death, you’re still able to protect loved ones and their future.

To speak to one of our specialist Wills and Probate solicitors about making a new Will or for any advice on protecting assets for your children from an earlier relationship, contact us on 0800 988 3674 or email advice@bartletts.co.uk