Why divorcing couples need to check their wills

7th August 2015


Divorcing couples will be prompted to update their wills thanks to a new Family Break-Up Will being offered by Co-operative Legal Services (CLS).


The new will enables divorcing couples to quickly and legally ensure their ex-partner is not longer named as the beneficiary of their estate before the marriage has ended – either through the existing will or the rules of intestacy that are used when there is no will.


The will, costing £145 plus VAT, is designed to save individuals the cost of updating and amending their wills as their relationship status changes by including an unlimited number of amendments to their will within the first 12 months. This means a will can be updated as circumstances change without extra costs.


The service has been created to address the number of people divorcing in later life who have no will in place. Recent statistics show a rise in the number of ‘silver separators’ and 32% of over-55s do not have a will and quarter of over-65s do not.


The Family Break-Up Will allows clients to write an initial will upon separation and then update it if their circumstances change. This means as the divorce progresses, customers can make their wishes known.


Tracey Moloney, head of private family at CLS, said: ‘Going through a break up is an incredibly stressful and confusing time and longer-term considerations like your will are easy to miss when trying to work through day to day issues like living arrangements and childcare.’


She said that while changes are in place to streamline the paperwork for uncontested divorces ‘in many cases it will still be common for the process to take up to six months and it’s vital that financial affairs are not left in limbo during this time’.


Failing to update a will after the decision to separate has been made can mean your estate ends up in the hands of the wrong person should you die before the divorce is finalised.


James Antoniou, head of wills at CLS, said: ‘Prior to the final divorce order or dissolution being issued, any existing will which benefits your spouse or civil partner continues to apply.


‘If like two thirds of UK adults there is no will in place, then whilst you are still legally married your spouse or civil partner remains the main beneficiary under intestacy rules.’

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