Why should I make my will “in contemplation of marriage”? We aren’t planning on getting married ….

….  well, not just yet anyway.

When drafting Wills for clients who are in long term relationships, we always suggest inserting a clause stating that the Will is “made in contemplation of marriage”.  And sometimes the client will respond by stating that they don’t plan on getting married, that they will get married eventually but not just yet etc., so why should they worry about such a clause?

It is crucial to consider the effect of section 12 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), which states that:

(1) A Will is revoked by the marriage of the testator.

There are exceptions to this, being:

  • a gift made to your partner; and
  • appointing your partner as your executor.

The rest of your Will, however, would be revoked.  So if you wanted to leave a sum of money or a particular piece of jewellery to a friend or relative, this gift would have no effect.  And further problems would arise if after you married, your new spouse passed away and was not able to take under your Will.  You would effectively die intestate (that is, without a valid Will).

So, even if you are not contemplating getting married, it is always wise to insert a clause stating that the Will is made in contemplation of marriage so that these issues can be avoided just in case you do end up taking a quick trip to Las Vegas!


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