If you have made a Will that benefits your spouse, and you later separate from that spouse, the Will is not invalidated by the separation and any provision you have made for your spouse would usually still apply. Similarly, if you make Mirror Wills with your spouse, you each have an individual Will, and these are not invalidated if you separate from each other.
It is possible to revoke a Will which benefits your spouse but please be aware that if you do so and then pass away without having made a new Will, you will be deemed to have died intestate (where you have died without a Will). Although you may be separated from your surviving spouse at the time that you pass away, your surviving spouse would still benefit under the rules of intestacy from your estate.
Obtaining a divorce does affect the terms of an existing Will; the Will is read as though the former spouse predeceased and any gifts to and/or appointments of the former spouse would fail.
However, filing for and completing divorce proceedings can take some time and there is the risk that you may pass away before proceedings are completed. Therefore, on separation, it is important to review your Will and update it to reflect any changes in your wishes.
The answers in this feature are for guidance purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Mirror Wills with HGW Solicitors
By Katherine Grantham-Balchin
Private Client Executive