Bennet Waugh Corne Lawyers - Lawyer - Family Law - Real Estate Law - Law Firm - Winnipeg - Manitoba

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Prudent to Review Your Will (or get one!) As Your Relationship Status Changes

Prudent to Review Your Will (or get one!) As Your Relationship Status Changes

Why do you need a Will?  If you die without a Will the law will dictate how your property is dealt with.  The Intestate Succession Act sets out what will happen if you die without a Will. This may not be the outcome you wanted. You can ensure that your wishes are followed by having a valid Will.

If you are separated but do not yet have a Separation Agreement or you are not yet divorced and do not have a Will your spouse is still your beneficiary under The Intestate Succession Act.

When should your Will be updated?  If you get married after your Will is made the Will is revoked by the marriage, unless there are specific circumstances as outlined in The Wills Act.  One of those circumstances is if your Will makes reference to the upcoming marriage then it will still be valid.  Another circumstance where the Will is valid following a marriage is if it fulfills obligations to a former spouse or common-law partner under a separation agreement or court order. 

If you get divorced after you have made a Will, your Will is interpreted as though your former spouse predeceased you, unless your Will says otherwise.  This means that any gifts to your former spouse or appointments (for example if they were named as your executor) are revoked.  This applies once your divorce is final. 

What about when you are separated but not yet divorced?  If you are separated but do not have a Separation Agreement your Will is still valid. Any gifts to your spouse are valid. 

What about common-law relationships?  A common-law relationship is established under The Wills Act and The Intestate Succession Act when you have cohabited for 3 years (or 1 year if you have a child together) or if you have registered your relationship under The Vital Statistics Act. 

A Will is an important part of managing your estate and should be reviewed and kept up to date.

Renée Nichols

Posted by Alison Bennet at 12:00 AM


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