Separation and its effect on estate planning is not always the first thought on the mind of former partners as they attempt to navigate the breakdown of a relationship.
Notwithstanding, the end of a relationship may have significant impacts on what happens in the event of one party’s death.
In NSW, a divorce revokes any part of a Will that intends to distribute assets in a deceased’s estate to a former spouse unless a clear intention is expressed to the contrary.
However, a separation or Court Ordered property settlement is not the same as a divorce and does have the same application to an estate. This means that if a party to a property settlement/separation was to die and did not update their Will, the provisions of the Will shall apply and parts of the estate are likely to be distributed to the former spouse.
If there is no Will meaning the estate is intestate, under the separate family law and succession legislation, the surviving party is the person who is likely to inherit the estate, despite a separation prior to the time of the death. This can also apply to de facto couples.
For these reasons, we recommend seeking advice in relation to updating Wills and estate planning documents each time a significant life event occurs.
If you, or anyone you know has recently separated and may not have updated their Will, please contact our expert team of lawyers here at Baker Love Lawyers.