A made his wife B the sole-beneficiary in his will.
A and B gets divorced. A did not amend his will. Five months later A remarries C. A dies a view months later. The executor of A’s estate informs B that she is the sole beneficiary of A’s estate and she inherits everything.
One may argue that in this scenario C should inherit everything as she was the Deceased’s surviving spouse and B should not inherit at all as they were divorced. It is very important to remember that a change of status has NO effect on the validity of a Will.
Section 2B of the Will Act 7 of 1853 reads as follow:
“If any person dies within three months after his/her marriage was dissolved by a divorce or annulment by a competent court and that person executed a will before the date of such dissolution, that will shall be implemented in the same manner as it would have been implemented if his previous spouse had died before the date of the dissolution concerned, unless it appears from the will that the testator intended to benefit his previous spouse notwithstanding the dissolution of his marriage.”
When taking the above-mentioned scenario into consideration this section can be explained as follow:
- If A Remarried C, within 3 months after his divorce and died within that 3 months, C would have been the sole beneficiary of his deceased estate.
- If A Remarried C and died a year later and A did not amend his will to C being the sole-beneficiary then B his ex-spouse is still the sole-beneficiary.
- If A dies within the 3 months after his divorce without being remarried the ex-spouse will not be entitled to any inheritance accept if it’s clearly stated in the will
This provision is to allow a divorced person a period of three months to amend his/her will, after the trauma of a divorce. Should you fail to amend your will within three months after your divorce, your divorced spouse will benefit as indicated in the will.
It is therefore advisable that if you have instituted divorce proceedings against your spouse that you review your Will. If you die and you have nominated your ex-spouse to inherit under your Will and the three (3) month exclusion period passes, your ex-spouse will be entitled to inherit under your Will.