September 13, 2013

Post-divorce: Will you leave behind clarity or confusion?

The chances of winning the National Lottery are said to be 14 million to one, yet each week 32 million people buy a ticket and make big dreams about how they would spend and manage such a momentous windfall.

Whereas few of us will encounter the life-changing ramifications of winning the lottery, at Jones Myers we know that the one certainty in life is that one day we will pass from it – and the importance of having a will to clarify your wishes cannot be understated.

Jones Myers has a dedicated team of solicitors who deal exclusively with disputes and problems that arise when adequate will and estate planning has not been done. The team is led by partner, Martin Holdsworth – a nationally qualified specialist in handling contentious trusts and estates – he advises our clients on the importance of making a will, or updating an existing will, after a separation or divorce.

Doing so ensures your previous wishes, which may have involved your partner inheriting, are cancelled and your new requirements are legally recognised.

For example, if you are still married, but are cohabiting with a new partner, your ex-partner would still be your legal spouse, and may be able to inherit under a will that you have made and not cancelled, potentially leaving your new partner with nothing. Where no will exists at all in such circumstances, your estate will be distributed in accordance with some rigid rules (of intestacy) under which your former partner will inherit a substantial proportion of your estate.

Even if you remarry, which invalidates any previous will; unless you have a new will in place, there are claims that can be made by your former spouse unless they are dealt with carefully during the original divorce financial settlement. This puts your new partner at risk.

At Jones Myers, whilst we encourage a collaborative and non-confrontational approach to separation, we also understand that both parties will want to move forward with the rest of their lives.

There is no doubt that having a valid, effective will that makes wishes and intentions clear in the event of death is by far the preferred option.

Our team has amassed a depth and breadth of experience in dealing with the far reaching consequences of confusing legacies and contentious estates and would be pleased to assist you in either dealing with such circumstances are recommending an appropriate law firm to draft an effective will.

Share with us your comments or contact us on 0113 246 0055 at our Leeds office or on 0203 617 8746 at our Essex office.