We may be feeling sad that we were not able to meet up with friends and family in the usual way over Christmas.  However, it’s not always as fun and cosy as we think. January traditionally sees an increase in calls to solicitors about divorce and making changes to wills after family break ups, and lockdown has resulted in higher rates of separation and divorce.

It's hardly surprising news that the pandemic is also affecting many of our core relationships and this looks set to continue into 2021. Lockdowns and social distancing have caused couples and families to spend increased amounts of time together without their usual sources of social or fun releases. In many cases, this has acted as a catalyst for break-ups that may already have been on the cards. 
 
The reasons why people are divorcing have not necessarily changed, but the extra problems caused by the pandemic and resulting financial hardship has just brought the focus on domestic arrangements really into much more sharp focus than they would ordinarily be.
 
Popular internet searches currently include information about the following:

  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Cutting someone out of your will

What happens about inheritance if you separate or divorced?

If you have a Will, you have probably nominated your spouse as both executor and beneficiary. That is unlikely to be what you now wish to happen. They will still inherit from you if you separate, so this is a good time to review your Will before your divorce is complete (as it can be a slow process).  Your will is not automatically invalid when you are divorced and you need to make a new one to reflect your new wishes if you haven't already done so.
 
If you haven't yet made a Will, your spouse is still entitled to inherit from you if you separate. Even if you have agreed a financial settlement, everything could just pass right back to your estranged spouse if you have not yet divorced.  This could mean that nothing passes on to your children or those you wish to inherit.  I'm sure that you would not wish that to happen.
 
Has Lockdown changed your relationship with family and friends?
 
Family arguments and financial tension may prompt family members to decide to cut siblings, offspring and spouses out of their wills, leaving thousands of people being disinherited by relatives!
Disinheriting a relative may not as easy as simply "cutting someone out" of a will.  
 
It is important to have legitimate reasons and for those to be expressed clearly and recorded in a separate statement, which is kept alongside your will. This requires careful drafting and consideration.
 
Do you want to know more? I am a trusted professional who can answer all your questions and help prepare and complete these important documents, quickly and easily.  I am currently working within Covid-19 restrictions and able to offer advice and assistance.