Marriage – Same Sex Couples – Review Your Wills

31 Mar 2014

As you would have heard in the media, it became legally possible for same sex couples in England and Wales to marry and the weekend saw a number of same sex couples getting married.

Perhaps one thing that was not mentioned by the media was how this historic event will impact an individual's testamentary status.

As with anyone getting married, as soon as you say 'I do' any Will which you have in place prior to that date (and which has not be made in contemplation of marriage) will become null and void. It is, therefore, important that as part of your wedding planning you review your Wills and check that they are still valid. Whether you are getting married or dissolving your Civil Partnership, in order to get married, this change in the law will impact you.

If you fail to make the necessary provision under the terms of your Will, you will be deemed to have died without a Will. Although your martial status means that your spouse is likely to be caught by Intestacy Rules (these are the rules that apply to someone who has died without leaving a Will), this is still a new law and there will be some grey areas surrounding this point for some time. It is, therefore, advisable to review your Will and make the necessary changes. Regardless of the change in the law, it is always better to have your wishes set out in black and white in the terms of your Will.

So, if you are a same sex couple (or even if you are a straight couple) and you are planning to get married, then beware as your may inadvertently invalidate your Will. However, do not fear. This can be rectified by a Codicil or, alternatively, you must prepare your new Wills in contemplation of your marriage.


Holly Algar