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Formation of marriage or civil partnership revokes any prior will

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In England and Wales it is still a legal principle that marriage automatically revokes a will. This general rule was affirmed and extended to civil partnerships: Court and Others v Despallieres. It had been alleged by the claimant that the deceased had made a will prior to the formation of their civil partnership, but it was claimed by family members that this was a forgery. It was held that the dispute was irrelevant as the will would have been revoked anyway as it had not complied with section 18B(3) of the Wills Act 1937. The provisions in the Wills Act require that for a will to remain valid that it appears from the language of the will that the testator expected to form a marriage/civil partnership with a particular person, and intended that the union should not revoke the will. The court felt in this case that the clause referred to in the 2008 will was not sufficient to satisfy these requirements; it was merely a general statement that the will was intended to survive marriage, civil partnership or adoption. There was no indication that the testator intended to form such a union, and as such there was no reference to a specific person. It is therefore important to remember that upon entering a marriage or civil partnership that any prior wills you might have made at an earlier date will no longer be valid. If you are making a will and planning to form a marriage or civil partnership then a suitable clause such be entered into the will to ensure that it remains valid. For additional information or analysis please contact: Danny Carter of Gepp & Sons. The above is not legal advice; it is only intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.