Is My Will Still Valid After I Get Married?

Francis Lawyers

Most adults should have a Will. If you die without a valid Will, your estate is considered “intestate.”   When that happens, the deceased’s estate is distributed according to the province of residence laws.  If you had a Will but got married, it is as though that previous Will never existed. That means you will have no voice about who should inherit.

What Does It Imply when Your Will Is Not Valid?

Basically, being intestate means, the government gets to decide who gets your assets. 

You will have no control over their distribution. With no Will, only married spouses or civil partners and other designated close relatives can inherit. That means if you wanted to leave a charitable contribution or an asset to a close friend, they are no longer in the inheritance picture.

If there are no surviving children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren, the surviving spouse or partner will get it all. A valid Will is the best way to say how your money and other possessions are inherited.

How Does Marriage Affect My Will?

A marriage is a legal contract. It affects your federal income taxes as well as various other aspects of your life. Having a valid Will in place is one way to handle a worst-case scenario. Another incentive is the possible exemption from inheritance taxes.

So, married couples have three options. Each person can have their own separate Will delineating who gets what. They can mirror Wills. This is when the Wills are separate but virtually identical. There is nothing to bind one Will to the other. So, there is nothing to stop the person from revoking the Will and making a new one. The third option is a joint Will. This applies to both parties in the marriage or other union.  

Does Divorce Affect My Will?

After a divorce, your Will remains valid. However, it is strongly suggested that you review the terms to ensure they still fit within your new status. 

You can make a new Will at any time after the legal separation, including before the divorce, to avoid any issues.

Remarriage after a divorce or death of a spouse is treated just like if the parties had not been previously married.  That is, the previous Will is no longer valid.  But like in the case of first marriages, the parties can make new Wills in anticipation of marriage.

Should I Have a Will?

Wills are important because they are your last words about how your assets are to be divided.  You should always have a Will in place no matter your circumstances. As soon as you come of age, you should have a will and estate lawyer in Ottawa prepare a Will. As your life changes, so should your Will and estate plan.