It may seem strange for a family lawyer to refer to the need for a Will but many people do not realise that just because they are separated does not change their legal status for inheritance. Most married couples happily do wills leaving their property to their spouses and those wills (unless formally revoked) will still be valid despite a separation because their Legal Status as husband /wife only changes after a decree absolute of divorce has been granted. Even if done promptly a divorce takes 5 or 6 months to complete and if you are using the 2 or 5 year separation ground that period is multiplied and so is the risk of one or both spouses dying in the meantime and leaving their property to the other.
Where is the problem you may ask? That is what I intended anyway. Well, you may be right but I think it is one thing to trust your bereaved and trusting spouse to look after the family assets after your demise but it is different if you are no longer in a relationship of trust, where he or she may already have a new relationship and may remarry quickly without taking proper care to do a new will which leaves the family assets to your/their children. Even worse they may be influenced by the new person to leave it to them or gift it to clear debt.
We appreciate this may sound cynical but it is always with a sense of shock that people who come to see us after several years of separation receive the news that they were unprotected all that time and we hurriedly put that right with a new will.
Faye Remnant is part of our Family Law team based in Loughborough; our Solicitors in Loughborough are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Loughborough please contact us.
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