Getting Married? What Happens to Your Will? – The “In Contemplation of Marriage” Clause

You have made your Will and have decided how much each of your children will receive in the event of your death and have also favourably considered a few friends and some charitable causes. And then you decide to get remarried. What happens to your Will?

The general rule is, that when you get married your Will becomes invalid. This means that should you die you are intestate, i.e. without a Will and only the rules set out by the government will apply to your estate. These rules are very strict and will only pass your assets on to blood relatives and only in a certain firm order. Your friends and the charitable causes mentioned above would not receive a penny and neither would any step children. I have discussed the rules of intestacy in a previous blog article, What Happens When You Die Without a Will .

There is one exception to this rule. If the Will is created with marriage in mind and includes the future married partner then you can add a certain section, the “In Contemplation of Marriage” Clause. This clause must be included if you want your Will to be valid after your marriage.

When you are planning your happy day, the last thing you want to think about is death, of course. But especially if children from a previous marriage are involved it is important to plan for their future as well as secure the share you would like to leave to your future partner and their existing children.

It is not enough to simply say that you want to leave a certain amount of money or property to your husband or wife to be. Here is what you have to do:

  • The partner you are intending to marry has to be named. You cannot simply say “my future wife/husband”. You also cannot simply state that you expect to be married in general.
  • The marriage must take place in the foreseeable future.
  • You have to include that you do not want the Will to be revoked by the marriage.

The sentence could read for instance “At the time of making this will, I expect to be married to (insert name) and intend that this, my will, shall not be revoked by my marriage to the said (insert name)”.

This rule does not only apply to marriage, but also to civil partnerships.

A Will including an “In Contemplation of Marriage” clause is often seen as temporary but is advised especially if you are planning a slightly longer engagement. Many people want to draw up a new Will once they are married to reflect their new status.

It is always worth seeking professional advice so that the wording in your Will is clear and your intentions are obvious so that the Will is not revoked (declared invalid) when you get married.

If you have any further questions about the “In Contemplation of Marriage” clause in a Will please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I, Amanda Harris, am a trained lawyer and a member of the Society of Will Writers. I visit my clients in their own homes at their convenience and am based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. You can find out what my clients have said about my work on my website www.alhlegal-willwriters.co.uk/testimonials or get in touch by phone 0115 8780417 or email at amanda@alhlegal-willwriters.co.uk