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Getting Married, Separated, or Divorced? Time to think about your will.

Written by: Kevin Heinrichs (View All Posts • View Bio ) Published: November 18, 2009
Categorized: Divorce, Wills and Estates.

The laws of British Columbia with regard to familial relations and wills and estates interact in a way that you need to be aware of if you want to make sure that wishes are honoured if you pass away. These are a few of the common issues that you should be aware of:

If you are getting Married

Wills in BC are governed by the Wills Act. Under section 15 of the Wills Act, your will is revoked if you get married, unless your will specifically contemplates your upcoming marriage. If your will is revoked and you pass away, it will be as though you died with no will at all, and your property will be distributed according to the Estate Administration Act. So if you get married, make sure you revisit your will if you want your final wishes to be respected.

If you are getting Divorced

Unlike getting married, getting divorced does not cancel your will. However, it can change your will. Any parts of your will that name your former spouse as executor or as a beneficiary of your estate are cancelled. The division of your estate can be complex and unpredictable if these portions of your will are cancelled. If you are getting divorced and you named your former spouse in your will, you should seriously consider getting a new will.

If you are separated and planning on getting Divorced

The process of getting divorced can often take some time. Even if you are separated from your spouse and have started divorce proceedings, your will is still valid. If you are separated but not divorced and do not have a will, a substantial portion of your estate will go to your spouse if you pass away before getting divorced. Under both of these circumstances, you should consider immediately getting a new will which explicitly sets out that you are making the will with your impending divorce in mind, and which reflects your wishes.

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