Does your Ex-Spouse inherit from your Estate?
The importance of a person creating a Will and secondly, updating one’s Will on a regular basis cannot over emphasized.
Further, if one is going through a divorce or in fact has been divorced, one needs to ensure that their Will has been updated accordingly.
Section 2B of the Wills Act states that
‘If any person dies within three months after his marriage was dissolved by a divorce or annulment by a competent court an that person executed a will before the date of such dissolution, that will shall be implemented in the same manner as it would have been implemented if his previous spouse had died before the date of dissolution concerned, unless it appears from the will that the testator intended to benefit his previous spouse notwithstanding the dissolution of the marriage.’
In essence, the above means that if a Testator or Testatrix dies within three months after the divorce their Ex-Spouse will not inherit unless it appears that the Testator or Testatrix wanted their Ex-Spouse to inherit in terms of their will.
It is important to note that the above provision is only applicable for a three-month period after the parties have divorced. Hence it is of paramount importance that people a couple who are undergoing a divorce or are recently divorced immediately have a new will drafted for them.
By virtue of a couple getting divorced, it does not mean that their Will is null and void. The Will continues to be in existence until the Testator or Testatrix has revoked it.
In summary, a person who has been divorced fails to amend their will and passes away after the three-month default position, it could result in a precarious position whereby one’s ex-spouse may inherit.
It is important that one ensures that they regularly update their Will and Estate Plans accordingly to ensure that their loved ones are the beneficiaries of their estate.