The Brief for Accountants & Financial Planners
December 2017

New relationship? Separated? Divorced?

Two minute scenarios...

Updating a Will is often the last thing some people think about when their relationship status changes. But perhaps they should.

Scenario One... Damien

Scenario: Damien separated from his wife 2 years ago but their settlement is not yet finalised. He is now living with his new partner who is pregnant. He has not updated his old Will.

What's the issue? If Damien was to die, his wife is entitled to receive his estate under his Will. That means his new partner would have to challenge the estate through the courts.

Solution: Damien should update his Will, noting he may still need to provide for his estranged wife as they have not yet organised the divorce settlement.

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Scenario Two... the settlement timing

Scenario: Damien and his estranged wife had put their assets in her name as part of an asset protection strategy.

What's the issue? If Damien was to die before the family law settlement, there would be nothing in his estate for his new partner to challenge, and therefore she would not receive any estate assets.

Solution: Damien should try and organise the family law settlement as soon as possible in order to have the relationship assets divided between them appropriately. Then he can have his Will updated to ensure he looks after his new partner and child.

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Scenario Three... but wait there's more..

Scenario: Damien is not yet divorced and is in another relationship. He does not have a Will.

What's the issue? Depending on what state Damien lives in, and how long he has been in his new relationship, his estate will be split between his ex-wife and his new partner.

Solution:  Damien should have a Will drawn up to reflect his wishes, noting he may need to provide for his ex-wife to avoid a challenge but it can be drafted so that any bequest to her no longer applies if the settlement has been finalised.

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More information for clients

Please feel free to forward this insight on Different Types of Wills to your clients. Or if they would like to discuss how we can help them please call 03 8621 9000 or email info@irongrouplawyers.com with their details and we will contact them, obligation free.

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