Making Decisions About Your Own Life After a Divorce

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When people go through a separation/divorce, they are often preoccupied with dealing with the division of their current assets and do not focus on future asset protection/estate planning. This can cause future distress, not only for the individual person but also family members who are left with administrating estates.

When should I review my Will?

You should review your Will if it no longer reflects your “testamentary” intensions.

A Will should generally be reviewed every few years or so or if a major family event occurs, your assets change significantly or if there are significant changes to the tax laws.

What if I have re-partnered?

Under the ACT Wills Act, generally speaking, if a person marries or enters into a “civil partnership” after having made a Will, the Will is revoked by the marriage or civil partnership unless the Will was expressed to have been made in contemplation of that marriage or civil partnership.

In the ACT, couples, who meet certain eligibility criteria, regardless of their sex have the option of registering their de facto relationship as a “civil partnership”.

If a marriage has been terminated (by divorce or annulment), or if a civil partnership has been terminated (by death or marriage of either party, written notice of intention to terminate by either party or Court order), any beneficial gift in favour of the former spouse or civil partner and any powers of appointment are generally revoked unless the Supreme Court is satisfied that it was not the intention of the testator (the person who made the Will) to exclude the former spouse/civil partner.

What else should I know?

You should ensure that any Powers of Attorney you may have granted are reviewed. You should also review any beneficiaries you have nominated to receive benefits under your superannuation entitlements/life insurance policies.

If you commence living with a new partner, you might want to consider entering into an Agreement which sets out how your assets can be protected in the event the relationship ends.