Gibson Sheat
Published on
Death and Wills! While this generally is not a typical topic of conversation when you are preparing for your wedding, due consideration should to be given to documents such as Wills and Contracting Out Agreements (commonly known as “pre-Nuptial Agreements”) as marriage imposes significant obligations in relation to property division and the allocation of assets.

Even if you have a Will, unless it was made “in contemplation of marriage” to your current spouse, a new marriage will automatically invalidate all Wills that were made prior to the date of the marriage.

Estate planning undertaken prior to marriage should also be reviewed as it too may be significantly affected. Consideration must be given to those who will benefit from a person’s estate and legacy (a gift of personal property or money to a beneficiary of a Will). Failure to execute the requisite documents to reflect one’s wishes can have negative consequences for all concerned.

Things get even more difficult if a person dies intestate (that is, without leaving a Will), as the allocation of their assets is determined by the Administration Act 1969. However, the application of the Administration Act 1969 may also be affected by legislation such as the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, the Family Protection Act 1955, and the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949, meaning that a person’s assets may be divided completely differently to the way they had envisioned they would be.