Wills made in Contemplation of Marriage

Having had my first wedding cancelled back in September 2020 and sadly a further wedding cancelled this month it got me to thinking ‘What happens if you have made a Will in contemplation of marriage and yet the marriage has been delayed?’

You may or may not be aware it is a fact that Marriage / Civil Partnership revokes a Will. I would therefore advise those clients who come to see me with a view to organising their affairs in anticipation of their wedding, to make Wills in contemplation of Marriage. Section 18 of the Wills Act 1837 allows this perfectly acceptable method of drafting to be valid and the marriage will not revoke the Wills. It is however important sound advice is taken if you do find yourself in this situation.

The ongoing pandemic has sadly meant that those – including myself – could be ‘contemplating the marriage’ for a much longer time than anticipated. Is there a set timescale? In short, the answer is no. So long as the intention is there i.e. the engagement but not necessarily a fixed date, the Will would be accepted. There is no set time period between making the Will and the wedding that is required for it to be accepted. I would however be cautious of doing this if, for example, you are in a relationship whereby you think you may get married ‘at some point’ or if there is no engagement. This simply would not work. However if you find yourself in a situation such as mine whereby Wills were made soon after engagement and with a wedding booked, do be reassured. Firstly, you are very well prepared and secondly, for the time being it is valid if that initial ceremony has been cancelled.

Lastly, I have tried to remain positive and hope the end is near for us all so we can all have the weddings we dreamed of…. albeit later than expected! 

For further advice or to arrange an appointment please contact a member of the Private Client team.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter. 

Graeme Black
Partner, Private Wealth & Inheritance
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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