One car can illustrate the effect of divorce on wills. Most people dream of an enduring and happy marriage.
Many people have a dream car.
To my way of thinking, the only car worth aspiring to is the Porsche 911.
Although my dream car is the Mercedes Benz 300 SL Coupe.

The Mercedes will forever remain a dream, not merely because a serviceable exemplar of this beautiful beast, the last of which was built in 1957 would lighten your bank balance by at least three quarters of a million pounds.
After all, that way or this, you or I could get our hands on that sort of lucre. After all, it’s only money.

Effect of Divorce on Wills
This Car Illustrates The Effect of Divorce on Wills

Modern Cars

Like you, I was brought up on ABS, traction control and power steering. Operating a machine such as the 300 SL – the last of which was built the year the European Economic Community was established, the year the Russians sent Sputnik into space, and the year ultrasound scanning technology was pioneered in Scotland – as beautiful as that engine under the bonnet is, as heavenly as it would be to handle the chassis, as pleasing to the eye as the styling is, driving such a car would feel as silky as driving a tractor. The 300 SL Coupe will therefore remain a dream.

The ordinary form of words in a will is: ‘I give my Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing to my husband Charles, but if my husband dies before me, I give the Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing to my children, Gladys, Ivy and Ken, in equal shares.’

Effect of Divorce on Wills

Changes of Circumstances

One thing we can be certain is that life’s not static, We are told by all those lists, and those lifestyle supplements in magazines and newspapers that the average person moves house seven times in their life. There’s no requirement to amend your will when you move house. The effect of divorce on wills is similar to the effect of moving house on wills, it is similar to the death of a spouse on a will. No effect. There is no requirement to change your will on divorce. There is no requirement to change your will when your spouse dies.

How to Read the Will

When a testator divorces, the will is read as if the spouse had died. So, the will would be read as if Charles had died. The car – this one worth £1,300,000 – would go to the children. Ordinarily, no one would want a third of a car, so it would be sold and the proceeds of the sale divided equally. Alternatively, if one of children wanted the car, he or she would simply buy out his or her siblings. Many would say it was merely common sense, but we all know emotions can cloud judgement, people can take sides – this can be an effect of divorce on wills.

Nonetheless, for the sake of clarity, when a couple divorce, they should amend their wills as to remove all references to their ex-spouses.

I’ve been in this business, of estate planning and writing wills over 30 years. None of my clients who were a married couple have divorced. Some marriages have come to the natural end: death did them part. Some cohabiting couples have parted company. No married couples have divorced. That’s just the luck of the draw, I couldn’t say that I had any effect on marriages.

Correlation isn’t causation and all that.

To get a full understanding of the effect of divorce on wills, contact me for a free, no obligation consultation, to discuss what help you might need.