If you have recently separated it is very important to get a new Will prepared.  If you do not have a new Will, your old Will is still valid and could mean your ex-partner ends up with all your assets if you die.

For example, Matthew and Sally had been married for five years.  When they had their first child they went to their lawyer and prepared Wills stating that all of the property of one spouse was gifted to the other in the event of their untimely death.

Matthew and Sally separated, and the children remained in Sally’s care.  Matthew and Sally owned a house together worth $400,000, and Sally’s grandparents gave her $200,000 to enable her to buy Matthew’s share of the family home from him so that she could live there with the children.

With the stress of the separation, Sally did not think about preparing a new Will.

Tragically Sally died in a plane crash.  As Sally had not changed her Will, all of her property went to Matthew.  This includes the family home that she had just purchased from him.

The children went to live with Sally’s mother in her one bedroom apartment and she supported them on her pension and the child support paid by Matthew.

This situation could easily have been prevented if Sally had a new Will prepared after the separation.  She could have left her house to her children and they could have lived in the family home with their grandmother.

It is very important to remember that your Will is still valid until you get divorced or  prepare a new will.

If you don’t prepare a new Will, your ex-partner may end up with all of your property.

Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.