By Jesil Cajes, Solicitor, McWilliam Tyree Lawyers

Getting married is one of the significant events that may trigger to make a Will (if you don’t have one) or get your existing Will updated.

Under New Zealand law, the rule is that a person’s Will is automatically invalid upon marriage or when you enter into a civil union. However, there is one exception to this rule. Your Will is still valid even if it was made before marriage if it explicitly states that it is made in contemplation of your marriage. If a Will is made in contemplation of your marriage, it will remain valid after the date of your marriage. However, we strongly recommend you need to check with us whether this is your case or whether you need to sign a new Will before or after you get married.

Wills are your legal plans if the unexpected were to happen.  They set out how your assets will be divided once you’ve died. Wills also stipulate who will look after your children (testamentary guardians) when you die. When you pass without a Will this means that you will have no control how your assets will be divided and who will look after your children. Most likely, the Court will be involved in deciding how your estate will be divided according to the law, not your wishes. The Court will also appoint who can look after your children and they may not be the people of your choice.

The above scenario of course can be avoided. At McWilliam Tyree Lawyers we recommend checking your Will is valid and reflects your wishes before entering into marriage or civil union.