It is not widely known that marriage or civil partnership invalidates an existing will, except in clearly defined circumstances, and many disputes have arisen because a deceased person failed to make a new will after forming a legal union.

In a recent case, the court had to consider the situation in which a man who had entered into a civil partnership died without having written a new will.

The man entered into a relationship and made a new will. This revoked an earlier will, which left his estate to a relative and various charities. His new will stipulated that it was intended to survive a subsequent civil partnership and he duly went on to form a civil partnership with his partner.

The new will was disputed on a number of grounds, but the case in point considered only the question of whether it was revoked by the civil partnership. In order for a will not to be revoked in these circumstances, it must be clear that the testator was intending to form a civil partnership with a particular person. In this instance, that intention was not clear from the wording of the will, which merely made a general statement that the will was intended to survive a civil partnership. Accordingly, the new will was revoked.

Since the man’s original will was also invalid, because it was automatically revoked by the civil partnership, his estate will now be dealt with under the intestacy rules.

If you are considering marriage or civil partnership, we can advise you on how best to deal with these sorts of issue. Contact Cathy Owen on 02476 555 400.