You're looking forward to the big day but there are so many details to consider including the legal details. If you already have a Will before getting married, keep in mind that tying the knot can affect that Will.
The general rule is that every Will made by a man or woman is revoked by his or marriage (according to section 48 of the Wills and Probate Act Chap 9:03). This means that the Will you made before getting married no longer has effect once you get married. Of course every rule has exceptions.
1. If the Marriage was in extremis, it would not revoke a previously made Will.
A Marriage in extremis is a marriage in which at least one of the parties to the marriage at the time of the performance of the ceremony, is in a dying state. In these circumstances, the law allows for such a marriage to take place without revoking any Will previously made by the parties to the marriage (according to section 48(1) of the Wills and Probate Act).
2. The effect of the default of a power of appointment in a Will can, in certain circumstances, exempt the Will from being revoked in the event of a marriage.
A power of appointment is a term used in the law of wills to describe the ability of the testator (the person writing the will) to select a person who will be given the authority to dispose of certain property under the Will. For example the testator may say in his will: "I leave my movie collection to be distributed as my son Gary sees fit."
If the testator puts a power of appointment in his will, and in default of such appointment, the property appointed would not pass to the testator’s heir, customary heir, executor or administrator or the person entitled as his or her next of kin, the Will in this case, would not be revoked by the marriage of the testator (according to section 48(2) of the Wills and Probate Act).
3. If the Will was expressed to be made in contemplation of marriage, then a marriage would not revoke the Will.
According to section 48(3) of the Wills and Probate Act, a Will expressed to be made in contemplation of a marriage shall not be revoked by the solemnisation of the marriage contemplated.
Therefore once a Will expressly states that it is made in contemplation of marriage, a marriage occuring later on in life will not revoke the Will. However, if the Will does not clearly state this, you will need to create a new Will once you tie the knot.
Important Notice: This post does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with an attorney on any legal problem or issue.
This website is managed by AURORA Chambers; a law practice in Trinidad and Tobago.
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