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What Happens To Wills After Divorce Or Separation

What Happens to Wills after Divorce or Separation

Cynics say that nothing lasts forever. When you tied the knot, you may have felt the happiest person in the world. Sadly, things did not work out. 

It would not be surprising that during your married life, you created a will that included your (now) former spouse. Are you wondering what will happen to that legal document after separating? You probably listed him as the sole beneficiary of your estate. 

If you are in the process of separating or recently divorced or (even) contemplating on it, you should carefully read this article. This piece will help clear out the convoluted entanglements associated with separation, so take a seat and pay close attention.

What Happens If I Already Have a Will before I Got Married?

People are often swept up with the planning and the ceremony that they forget that marriage is a legal contract. If you have an existing will, this will become void unless you made it with the marriage in mind. 

If you do not want the said document to be revoked, it should contain a statement regarding your impending marriage. It should contain the name of your future spouse. If your will does not have this, you need to create a new one.

Let us say that you were not able to create a new will and you pass away. The courts will consider you as having died without a will (or intestate). In this scenario, the rules under Ontario’s Succession Law will apply. 

What Happens If I Have a Will and I Get Separated?

Before we answer this question, let us lay down basic facts. Kindly bear in mind that divorce and separation are two different things. The latter is when a common-law or married couple, who were once living together are now residing on different roofs, so it does not legally end the marriage. On the other hand, the former can legally end the marriage contract.

With that said, your will remains enforceable. If you placed your estranged spouse as the sole beneficiary, he would get the entire estate. Yes, you heard us correctly. Your separation will not affect your will. 

Take note that most legal battles happen because people did not update their wills. Besides that, any gifts listed in your will that are addressed to your estranged partner (or spouse) will remain valid. With this said, updating your will would invalidate this.

What Happens If I Have a Will and I Get a Divorce?

This scenario is different from the previous question. Let us say that you were not able to update the legal document after the divorce. In this case, the will remains valid, but any provisions that refer to your former spouse are revoked. In other words, if you named your ex-spouse as an executor, trustee, or beneficiary, those entitlements will be given to someone else.


Separation or divorce will not only result in heartaches. It can bring numerous legal headaches, which is why it is necessary to update your will if you ever undergo such a life-changing event.

If you do not know what to do, you should consult an attorney from Ontario. There is no better team to help you than Ontario Wills because we understand the complexity of the situation. We will try to make the proceeding as painless as possible. Call us now to make an appointment!

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